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THE 



NATUEALIST; 



ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE 



ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, AND MINERAL KINGDOMS. 



WITH HIGHLY-FINISHED COLOURED ENGRAVINGS AND WOOD CUTS- 



CONDUCTED BY 



B. MAUND, F.L.S., and W. HOLL, FG.S. 
> 






VOL. I. 






LONDON: 
R. GROOMBRIDGE, PATERNOSTER ROW. 



M.DCCC.XXXVII. 



THE NATURALIST. 



CURSORIUS ISABELLINUS. 



ORDER. — ECHASSIERS. FAMILY. PRESSIROSTRES. 





THE SWIFTFOOT. 

By Shirley Palmer, M. D. 

With the view rather of eliciting and collecting, than of communicating, 
information on divers obscure parts of Zoology, I propose to give occasionally, 
in The Naturalist, a sketch of one of the rarer or more curiously constructed 
animals. My delineations will be taken from the best living or the most per- 
fectly preserved specimens to which I can obtain access. I shall describe, as 
•minutely and correctly as possible, the external characters of the subject of the 
sketch ; and any peculiarities of internal structure, or of economy, which it may be 
known to exhibit : and most especially shall I feel obliged by the communication 
of any authentic facts respecting the anatomy, physiology, or habits of such 
animal, which the experienced observer may be enabled, and have the kindness, 
to supply. Facts, — not opinions or hypotheses, however novel or specious, — are 
the only contributions which I crave, or covet, on these subjects. 

The description of the specific characters and habits of the animal will be 
followed up, if not preceded, by a sketch of the characters of that genus to which, 
in my opinion, it has been most correctly referred ; by an enumeration of its 
synonyms in the leading languages of Europe ; and a reference to the most accu- 
rate delineations, iconographical or literary, of the animal in question, which I have 
hitherto seen. 

For the subject of my First Sketch, I have selected, the Cream-coloured 
Swiftfoot, Cursorius Isabellinus, — a bird belonging to the Order, Echassiers, 
Family, Pressirostres, of Cuvier ; and to the Grallatores, Charadriadce, of 
modern British Ornithologists. 

VOL. I. b 



This elegant bird, — le Coure-vite Isabelle, of Temminck, — and Corrione 
biondo, of Italian writers, was arranged, by Gmelin, in the Plover genus, under 
the title of Charadrius Gallicus ; and is briefly noticed, but not figured, by 
Bewick, in his last edition of the History of British Birds, as the Cream- 
coloured Plover. It was first separated from that genus by Latham, and taken as 
the type of a new genus, Cursorius ; of which the following are the distinguish- 
ing characters : Bill shorter than the head ; depressed at the base ; slightly arched 
and curved, and pointed, at the tip. Nostrils, oval, basal, lateral, and surmounted 
by a slightly protuberant membrane. Legs long, slender, and naked to some dis- 
tance above the tarso-tibial joint. Toes three, short; all directed forwards, 
and united by membrane at their base : interior toe much shorter than the middle 
toe. Nails small ; that of the middle toe broad, and pectinated on its inner 
margin. Naked portion of the tibia, front of the tarsus, and upper surface of the 
toes scutellated. Wings of mean length : first quill-feather almost as long as the 
second, which is longest. 

The following is a correct description of a finely-preserved specimen of the 
adult Cream-coloured Swiftfoot, in the Birmingham Museum of Natural History : 

Bill black, nearly four-fifths of an inch long. Forehead and crown of the 
head, pale buff-orange ; changing, on the hind head, into ash- or smoke-grey. 
(The irides, according to Selby, are pale yellowish-grey). A white streak extend- 
ing from above the middle of the eye, pointed anteriorly and growing broader as 
it runs backward, to unite with its fellow at the occiput. Beneath, and in contact 
with this, a black streak of nearly uniform width, commencing at the posterior part 
of the eye, and extending to meet its fellow, by an attenuated line on the posterior 
margin of the white band on the occiput. The occipital angle of the white streak 
filled up, and bordered to a short distance, by an irregularly- but somewhat cres- 
cent-shaped patch of black. Nape of the neck bright buff-orange. Whole upper 
parts of the body sienna-yellow, with an irregularly distributed tinge of ash-grey. 
Chin, throat, neck, and inferior parts, pale yellowish-white. Quill-feathers deep- 
brown, bordered at the extremity with buff, and reaching to the end of the tail. Tail 
slightly rounded, buff-orange : tail-feathers exhibiting, near the tip, a dark-brown 
patch much more distinctly visible on the inferior than the superior surface. Tail- 
coverts, above and below, light-grey. Tibiae invested, half way down, with grey 
feathers. Tarsi pale buff-orange. Toes more dusky. Claws brown. 

Temminck describes " the young of the year," as exhibiting, on the superior 
parts, a much clearer yellow colour (isabelle beaucoup plus clair) than the adult 
bird ; varied, on the scapulars and wing-coverts, by numerous zigzag marks of a 
deeper tint. The double black streak, — or rather, as I have more correctly de- 
scribed it, the ordinarily black streak and crescent, — is but faintly marked in 
bright-brown. Such, at least, are the characters of a young Swiftfoot preserved 
in the cabinet of Natural History, at Darmstadt. 



The Cream-coloured Swiftfoot is a native of Africa, especially Abyssinia ; and 
an occasional visitant only of the southern provinces of Europe. Three instances 
of its capture in our own island have only yet been recorded. The first specimen 
was shot in Kent, and sent to Dr. Latham : the second, killed in Wales, found 
its way into the collection of the late Professor Sibthorpe, of Oxford : the third 
and last, discovered at Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire, is in the possession of 
the Rev. Thomas Gisborne, of Yoxall Lodge ; a man equally distinguished by his 
eloquence as a Christian minister, and by his talents as a naturalist and a poet. 

Of the food, habits, or nidification of the Swiftfoot, little is, at present, known. 
The individual, shot in Kent, was observed to run with incredible swiftness, and 
occasionally pick up something from the earth. It suffered itself to be twice shot 
at ; and could with difficulty be made to take wing. Its note was unlike that of 
any known bird. 

For figures and descriptions of the Cream-coloured Courser, see Temminck, 
Manuel oV Ornithologie, vol. ii., p. 513 ; Weber, Atlas des Oiseaux <T Europe, 
Liv. 26, pi. 4 ; Selby, Illustrations of British Ornithology, Part ii., pi. 33, and 
vol. ii., p. 217 ; and Jenyns, Manual of British Vertebrate Animals, p. 176. 

Two other species of Cursorius are, " to complete the monography of this 
little genus," enumerated, and briefly described, by Temminck. The first, C. 
Asiaticus, — Courte-vite de Coromandel, — inhabits Africa and India ; and is distin- 
guished by the following specific characters : Vertex ruddy ; neck and breast chest- 
nut-red ; nucha, wings, and tail, brown : higher parts of the abdomen black ; lower 
parts, rump, wing-coverts, and extremities of the tail-feathers, white. Beak black ; 
legs yellowish. Length eight inches. The last, C. bicinctus, — Courte-vite a 
double collier, — found in the interior of Africa, by Le Vaillant, is characterized 
by the existence, as the specific designation indicates, of a double black collar 
around the neck. It is ten inches long ; inhabits sterile lands at a distance from 
water ; and runs with amazing swiftness. 

From the structure of the beak and foot, and the fleetness in running, exhibited 
by the three known species of Swiftfoot, and probably also from the sandy and 
sterile districts selected for their habitation, Temminck was led to regard them as 
nearly allied to the smaller exotic species of the Bustard genus. In accordance 
with these views, the Cursorius is made immediately to follow the Otis genus, 
in Temminck's valuable work, and in the first edition of Selby's Illustrations. 
On deliberate examination, however, the Swiftfoots have been found more closely 
to resemble, in their external characters, the Plovers than the Bustards : and 
Cursorius has consequently been arranged, by later ornithologists, and by Selby, 
in his second edition, as a genus belonging to the Charadriadce, or Plover family. 
In general form and character at least, the subject of my present sketch exhibits 
a more striking resemblance to the Himantopus melanopterus, or Black-winged 
Stilt, than to any other bird with which I am acquainted. 

b2 



STUDY OF NATURE. 
No. I. 



Reciprocal influence of the Natural Sciences. 
By Robert Mudie. 

Though, in the professional part of Natural History, it is necessary, for the ad- 
vancement of the science, that there should be a division of labour, something ana- 
logous to that which exists among the professors of the arts, whether inventive 
or handicraft; and though in the one, the other, and every department of each, this 
division of labour, whether more of the head or of the hand, is the only means by 
which truth in principle, and dexterity in practice, can be arrived at ; yet, in that 
study and knowledge of the productions of Nature, which forms so essential and 
so valuable a part of general education, the mode of procedure should be very dif- 
ferent. In this, the great danger, and it is great in proportion to the talent and zeal of 
the party, is, that some single department shall entice the mind away from that gene- 
ral attention to the whole, which is requisite not only to the pleasure and profit of 
a well-cultivated mind, in the business and enjoyment of life, and the furtherance 
of the general weal of society, but also to the proper understanding and successful 
pursuit of the one branch, although that branch is ultimately to be studied profes- 
sionally. Thus, even he who is ultimately to be an artist in the investigation of 
Nature, must at first be a general student, in the same manner as he who 
wants to be successful in any pursuit of life must first be a general scholar, or re- 
ceive a good education, in order to enable him to grapple with any difficulty that 
may arise. 

It is true that there stand upon the record, among those who have shone the 
brightest in most departments of human knowledge, and in every branch of human 
pursuit, many who appear to have stormed the citadel of knowledge and the tem- 
ple of art, without apparent previous education, and with the strength of their own 
minds alone. But granting — which not one of themselves would have granted — 
that such individuals possessed this innate or instinctive method of arriving at the 
high places of the intellectual world, others must not deceive themselves by such 
examples. This original genius, even were it as real as it is imaginary, is but as 
the one great prize in a lottery of ten thousand blanks ; and thus, though many 
might expect it, only one could get it, and all the rest would be losers. But in truth 
there is no such original genius. Every step that any human being can take in 
knowledge, must be a step in reasoning ; and if the foot is but once let fall any- 
where else than on the firm ground of well-sifted and thoroughly-established expe- 
rience, down he goes in the quagmire of error and absurdity ; and the labour 



which it costs him to regain his footing — if, indeed, he shall ever regain it at all — 
would, with proper heed to his steps, have carried him far onward upon his jour- 
ney. 

Besides, those " stars" of genius follow the law of all other stars, by being con- 
spicuous only in the dark, and more conspicuous the more profound the obscurity is, 
and the more vacant the space athwart which they are seen. In the mighty dark- 
ness of those ages, during which the combined mischief of reckless war, and sense- 
less superstition, had well-nigh banished science from the earth, a single scintilla- 
tion, and that too of some false light — of some ignis fatuus of the polluted air — 
was sufficient to constitute a star of the first magnitude, after which the benighted 
children of men wondered and worshipped ; and this they were prone to endow 
with " airs from heaven" or " blasts from hell," upon as slender grounds as those 
which called forth their wonder and their worship. But as the dawn of true 
knowledge broke, and the sun of science neared the horizon, the stars in that part 
waxed dim and disappeared ; and when this glorious morning to the human mind 
had so far advanced as to shew, as it were, to the great body of the people upon 
the earth the objects immediately around them, in their true colours, so that each 
man might observe with his own senses, and judge with his own understanding, 
those stars of the darkness of intellectual night vanished away, as is the case with 
their namesakes of the natural sky. 

We do not say that the full light of the sun of knowledge has yet broken upon 
even the most lofty pinnacles of human nature ; but we do say that the morning 
dawn is both broad and glorious ; so that any one who has eyes to see, and will 
use them, may fully understand everything which comes within the range of his 
observation, and within the legitimate pale of human philosophy. And it is pre- 
cisely because such is the case — because the light of science is general, and sets 
off the qualities and the nature of things by their coincidencies and their contrasts, 
it has become so necessary thoroughly to understand the general nature of this 
light, before we proceed to the details of those subjects which it reveals to us. 

The illustrations which we may draw from this analogy of the light of Nature, 
and of the light of Science, especially of the science of Nature, are very numerous, 
and they are equally apt and striking. It is the light itself which reveals to us 
the forms of things, and which paints them with all their varied colours. In the 
blackness of darkness, the most lovely flower, or the richest parterre, is a mere 
blank ; and if we examine objects by means of a decomposed light, or through a 
tainted or coloured medium, the false colour of the light, or the taint of the me- 
dium, disguises all that we see ; just as looking through a red glass makes the 
whole landscape red ; or as the murky air, by turning aside all the more refrangi- 
ble colours of the solar beam, makes the cloud, and even the sun itself, seem 
murky. Those matters were not understood until men knew how to divide 
the white light of the sun into its component shades. But when once this was 



6 

accomplished, the mine of knowledge therein contained was so far from being ex- 
hausted, that it was merely opened ; and when chemical analysis came to be united 
with this optical, or mechanical, resolution of the sun-beam into its colours, it was 
soon found that there were principles there of which the colours, considered 
merely as such, had given no indication. The heat, found most intense without 
the red extremity of the spectrum, and fading away as the other extremity is ap- 
proached, was one wonderful step in discovery ; because it shewed that, besides the 
infinite variety of colouring influence in the solar beam, there is an infinite variety 
of another influence, following a different law, and not cognizable by our organs of 
sight. A further step was the power of oxidation at one extremity of the spec- 
trum, and the power of deoxidation at the other, which are not discernible to the 
eye like the colours, neither are they palpable to the feeling, or to the thermo- 
meter, like the variations of heat. 

This is not the ultimate boundary to which judicious analysis, proceeding cautious- 
ly by steps of experience, has already arrived on this most beautiful and truly wonder- 
ful subject ; for there is a sort of glimmering forecast or belief that all those singular 
effects of the different extremities of the spectrum which are gradual from the one 
extremity to the other, are modifications of two antagonist powers, as it were, upon 
which every action of Nature depends, or rather in which every action of Nature 
consists. That there is a close connection, and, indeed, an absolute identity, with 
the action of heat, we need not say, for it is felt. On such subjects it requires great 
labour, and still greater care and skill, to arrive at any thing like even mental de- 
monstration ; but the probability is that there is a similar identity with those ac- 
tions which we call electricity, and galvanism, and magnetism, which seem, in 
truth, to be nothing else than modifications of one general species of action ; for 
when brought to a certain degree of intensity, which has been determined by ex- 
periment, their effects are the same ; and identity of effect is the only means that 
we have of believing in identity of cause. Nor is this all ; for A what we call the 
principle of growth in vegetables, and the principle of life in animals, both of 
which are merely actions, not substances, and actions differently modified under 
different circumstances, we can still trace a striking similarity. Nay, we may 
almost venture upon one step farther, which would join the heavens and the earth 
together in one mighty problem, and furnish us with an instrument of universal 
knowledge, in so far as the material creation and its phenomena are concerned. 
Between those more stubborn energies of the solar beam, which resist most power- 
fully the refractive influence of the prism, and that gravitating influence which 
retains the planets in their orbits, there is a most singular, though, in the present 
state of knowledge, a most mysterious, resemblance, — they are both stubborn to 
the line which joins body and body. On the other hand, there is a corresponding 
resemblance between the more yielding or refractive energies, and that orbital 
force which balances the central one, and sustains the planet in its orbit. It is 



true that we must speak with great caution of matters so refined as these are, and 
so little within the limits of our common observation ; but still so many of them 
are clearly established, and they point so naturally to the establishment of the 
others, that it is desirable to keep the spirit of inquiry awake, and ready to avail 
itself of every means of additional knowledge. 

Some may ask, what all this has to do with the study of the Natural Sciences ? 
but such a question can be put only by those who have confined themselves to one 
department, and are, by necessary consequence, ignorant of the general bearings 
even of that department in its relations to, and its influence upon, the rest of nature- 
Let any one cast a glance of knowledge over the globe which we inhabit, and mark 
the various productions of its different hemispheres, its different latitudes, its 
different elevations, its different surfaces and soils, and its different alternations of 
land and of water ; and he will not fail to see that some principle which will meet 
all those differences is absolutely necessary, if his contemplation is to do any- 
thing else than to torment him with the sting of his own ignorance. Why grows 
the pine in such countless millions in the higher latitudes of the northern hemis- 
phere ; while in those of the south there are no corresponding trees, except a few 
clusters of araucarias ? Why does the fern stand, in certain southern forests, as 
a tall and perennial ornament, while our plants of the same natural family die 
down to the earth every season ? Why does the palm rear its majestic stem and 
expand its graceful crown of leaves in every tropical country round the earth's 
girdle, and constitute there the most valuable tree, both for food and for shelter, 
to man ; while so high as the middle latitudes of the quadrants, not a single speci- 
men, planted by Nature, is to be found ? 

Such are one or two, out of countless thousands of questions, which stand at 
the very portal of the temple of Nature, loudly demanding each its answer before 
the student can profitably enter. We might extend them to every department of 
both kingdoms of active nature ; and as the members of these are composed of 
the same matter as that which we call the inactive kingdom, it also must be in- 
cluded. All this, too, is confined to the present moment ; but when once a man 
is imbued with a love of Nature, he cannot resist looking back at the record. Nor 
will he fail to ask himself such questions as the following : why are our tree fern, 
our elephant, our hippopotamus, and countless others, to be found only buried 
in the earth ; while other regions in the world have theirs still growing or alive 
on its surface ? We shall return to the subject. 



OBSERVATIONS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE 
STUDY OF COMPARATIVE ANATOMY, 

WITH A TRANSLATION OF BLUMENBACH's CHAPTER ON THE STRUCTURE OF 

THE BONES. 

Human Anatomy and Physiology constitute the great foundation of all medi- 
cal science. A correct acquaintance with the structure and functions of the lower 
animals is not less essential to the physiologist and the student of Zoology than to 
the medical philosopher. No one can acquire a profound insight into the func- 
tions of the human organs, unless he have borrowed from Comparative Anatomy 
the clear and powerful light which that interesting science can alone supply. 
Structure, again, is the broad and solid basis upon which all consistent and phi- 
losophical arrangements of the animal kingdom must ultimately repose. Had the 
late Dr. Haighton, of London, wisely condescended to examine, previously to the 
promulgation of his views, the relative situation of the spleen in some of the infe- 
rior animals, we should never have been favoured with his specious but ephemeral 
theory of the physiology of that organ in the human body. If the great Linnaeus 
had been as sound a comparative anatomist, as he has shewn himself an accurate 
observer of the exterior forms of natural objects, the lobster could never have 
preposterously figured, in his System, among apterous insects. Nor by any zoolo- 
gist, even slightly cognizant of the anatomy and physiological peculiarities of the 
Cetacea, or Whale tribe, could these singularly constructed animals have been 
placed, or retained, as by the superficial Pennant, in the class of Fishes. 

The study of the animal kingdom, although not so obviously and directly 
useful, is almost as interesting to the man of business, and the student of the dif- 
ferent sciences, as to the medical practitioner. To all, it offers an occupation for 
the hour of leisure or retirement, not less salutary than delightful. The individual, 
upon whose habits of order, precision of thought, and accuracy of discrimination, 
success or failure in the paths of commerce or agriculture must mainly depend, 
will be gratefully surprized at the increased facilities and power which he cannot 
fail to acquire, in the performance of these intellectual operations, from the habit 
of observing, and arranging in his mind, the varied facts and phenomena which 
the field of animated nature is incessantly presenting to his view. And the agri- 
culturist, by an acquaintance with the principles of Comparative Anatomy and 
Physiology, will be best enabled to comprehend the nature and treatment of the 
diseases of those domestic animals in the well-being of which he is so deeply 
interested ; as, by an insight into the economy and transformations of the insect 
tribes, he can alone be prepared to effectually remedy, or avert, their frequently 
ruinous depredations on the produce of his fields. 



To the man of loftier intellect or aspirations, who has fortunately learned to 
gaze upon creation with the eye of the naturalist and philosopher, rather than of 
the poet, an examination of the structure and economy of the animal kingdom will 
disclose elevating and comprehensive views, and supply facts and illustrations ; 
which, whatever be the path of science or literature he is destined to tread, may 
incessantly be turned to admirable account in his peculiar calling : and, as Cuvier 
has beautifully observed, the peaceful pursuits of Zoology will serve to tranquillize 
and sustain the agitated and the weary spirit amidst all the anxieties and disap- 
pointments, the petty jealousies and detractions, with which those paths are so 
sadly and so painfully infested. 

The application of the study of Zoology, as of Natural History in general, to 
the science of Medicine, is not less evident in other respects, than in its more 
immediate connections with the Anatomy and Physiology of the human body. 
From the animal and vegetable, the mineral and gaseous kingdoms, the physician 
and surgeon derive all the boasted resources of their beneficent art : and ought not 
the workman to cultivate a familiarity the most intimate with the structure and 
composition, the properties and arrangement, of those instruments which he is 
incessantly called upon to employ ? In the character and tendency of studies like 
these, as in the intellectual discipline which they necessarily impose, there are, 
also, an especial fitness, and an influence, calculated most powerfully to re- 
commend them to the notice of medical men. For he, whose organs of observa- 
tion have been sedulously trained to the accurate discrimination of the minuter 
differences whereby the various species of animal, plant, or mineral, are respec- 
tively characterized, will, doubtless, in general, more readily and distinctly appre- 
ciate, than the man of untutored eye, the slighter diversities, the more delicate 
and evanescent forms and phenomena, exhibited by disease. It may even be 
questioned whether science and humanity have not been principally indebted to 
the habits of close and patient observation acquired by Dr. Jenner, in his pur- 
suits as a naturalist, for the splendid discovery which has immortalized his own 
name, and thrown an additional and enduring lustre around the scientific reputa- 
tion of his country. 

The mind of the medical practitioner, moreover, if, in the hour of retirement 
from the active duties of his profession, it be not occupied by these elevating and 
congenial subjects, will too frequently contract habits, or fly for recreation to 
amusements deeply injurious or destructive to that calm, contemplative, and philo- 
sophic spirit, which he will best consult his interests and reputation by cultivating 
or acquiring ; and utterly inconsistent with the comprehensive attainments and 
intelligence, the purity and decorum, the lofty elevation of character and of feeling, 
by which the votary of medical science should invariably be distinguished. 

Deeply impressed with a conviction of the utility of these studies, and the be- 
neficent influence which they are calculated to exert upon the public mind, we have 
vol. i. c 



10 

lost no opportunity which presented itself, of inciting those around us, and more 
especially the younger members of the medical profession, to the prosecution of a 
path of inquiry from which we have, ourselves, derived such pure and delightful 
recreation, — so many and such solid advantages. In this spirit, we, nine years ago, 
contemplated a translation, from the German, of the last edition of Blumenbach's 
celebrated Manual of Comparative Anatomy. Subsequently to 1807, when Mr. 
Lawrence's masterly translation of that work was first published, Zootomy had 
made a rapid stride in this country, and, more particularly, on the continent ; and 
one or two other editions of Blumenbach's Manual had seen the light. On re- 
ceiving information, however, from Mr. Coulson, that he was actually engaged 
upon the work, we, without hesitation, abandoned the project. His translation, 
or rather revised edition of Mr. Lawrence's translation, soon afterwards appeared ; 
but we candidly avow that the work, in its style of execution, falls very far short 
of the expectations which, from our knowledge of the talents, industry, and attain- 
ments of Mr. Coulson, we had been led to indulge. Several inaccuracies which 
had escaped the vigilant eye of Mr. Lawrence, have been suffered to pass without 
correction. Various errors, of which that distinguished writer never could have 
been guilty, disfigure the interpolations of Mr. Coulson ; and divers passages, in- 
troduced by the German Professor into the last edition, have been doomed to inex- 
plicable neglect. Still worse, the notes of Blumenbach and Lawrence have been 
frequently incorporated, by the sub-translator, with the original text : and the bulk 
of the volume has been needlessly swelled by the introduction of matter frequently 
uninteresting, and sometimes destitute of any very obvious connection with the 
subject. Under these circumstances, we may, perchance, render an acceptable 
service to the readers of The Naturalist, by presenting a close and nearly literal 
translation, without regard to elegancies of style, of certain portions of the pure 
text of the last edition of Blumenbach's Manual; and concisely adding, in notes, 
such new facts and illustrations as our own reading and observation may enable 
us to supply. For the benefit of the student of German, we shall add, in paren- 
theses, the German synonyms of such of the various scientific and especially 
anatomical terms, as cannot be found in the ordinal y dictionaries of the language. 
The French and Latin synonyms, when new or peculiar, will also be introduced. 

The Manual of Blumenbach, it will be seen, is destined merely to communicate 
elementary knowledge : and, on this account, we have selected it as far better 
adapted for the purpose of conveying popular instruction, than the more elaborate, 
profound, and comprehensive productions of the later German and the French 
zootomists. A very correct general acquaintance with the anatomy of animals 
may, however, be acquired from an attentive and re-iterated perusal of Blumen- 
bach's work ; especially if the student be careful to impress upon his memory the 
leading facts of the German writer, and to verify his descriptions by frequent 
examination of, and their comparison with, such specimens of the animal structure 



11 

as may fall within his reach. They, who thirst for knowledge from a deeper source 
of zootomical science than the Manual of Blumenbach supplies, will find, in the 
writings of Cuvier, Blainville, and Geoflroy-St.-Hilaire, among the French — , of 
Meckel and Carus, among the German — , and Macartney, Lawrence, Grant, and 
Todd,* among British zoologists, ample stores wherewith to gratify their longing. 
In this number, we shall merely present, as a specimen of our proposed labour, 
a transcript of the first short chapter of Blumenbach's work. The continuation, 
or abandonment, of the project will entirely depend upon its reception by the 
public. If deemed useful and instructive, it will be steadily prosecuted to the end. 
Yet an adverse opinion, however it may cause a slight deviation, will not ultimately 
deter us from our fixed purpose ; which is that of exhibiting, in a series of contri- 
butions to The Naturalist, an outline, traced with all the clearness and precision 
which we can employ, of the anatomy, physiology, and principles of arrangement, 
of the Animal Kingdom. 

MANUAL OF COMPARATIVE ANATOMY. 

First Chapter. 

Of the Structure of the Bones of Animals, in General. 

§ 1. None but red-blooded animals (die rothbliitigen Thiere) possess a true 
skeleton ;f in which their bones are, with few exceptions,^: united ; and on which 
the general figure, and the degree of flexibility, of their body principally depend. 

§ 2. The ordinary white colour^ of the bones exhibits several shades or gra- 

* We particularly recommend to the notice of the student the excellent Cyclopedia of 
Anatomy and Physiology, now in progress of publication, by Mr. Todd. 

-f- Only in a few insects and worms (Crustacea and Zoophytes), are parts of a really os- 
seous structure developed : as the bones in the stomach of the lobster, and other species of 
the Cancer (or AstacusJ genus ; and the bony apparatus in the mouth of the Sea-urchin, 
Echinus (See-Igel). These parts, at least, more closely resemble, in structure, true bone 
than the peculiar substance, Os Sepia, obtained from the Cuttle-fish, Sepia officinalis. 

X These exceptions principally are the os hyoides, or bone of the tongue (zungenbein), 
the patella, and sesamoid bones, in many of the Mammifera, as in man ; the bone of the 
membrum virile, in divers other of the same class, as the dog; the clavicular bones (ossa cla- 
vicularia) of certain Mammalia, as many of the Ferae, and some GHres, in which these bones 
exist, merely connected with the muscles ; and the whole thoracic extremity in those ani- 
mals which, as the Solidungula, possess no clavicle ; the bony ring in the sclerotica of the 
bird's eye ; and the intermuscular bones (Fleischgraten, — ossicula musculorum) of fishes ; 
and their ventral fins, which correspond to the pelvic extremities of the higher animals. 

% It is remarkable that the well-known experiment of imparting a red colour to the 
bones of an animal, by the admixture of madder with its food, succeeds very imperfectly in 
cold-blooded animals (kaltbliitige Thiere). 

c2 



12 

dations, sometimes even in the same piece ; as, for instance, in the grinding-teeth 
(backenzahnen) of the Elephant : and in some few genera, or races, of animals, 
they are invariably of another colour. Thus, the bones of the Gar-pike (der 
Hornfisch, — Esox belone, — Belone vulgaris, of modern ichthyologists, — la Be- 
lone, Fr.) are green ; and the bones of many varieties of the common fowl are 
of a blackish colour. 

§ 3. Still more variable is their texture and grain, as well in different bones 
of the same skeleton, as in those of particular classes and orders of animals. 
Thus, the fragile constitution of the air-bones (Luftknochen) of birds ; their 
fibrous structure in many of the larger Amphibia (Amphibien) and fishes ; and 
their peculiar toughness and density in some parts of many cartilaginous fishes, 
(Knorpelfische) conspicuously distinguish them from other bones. 

§ 4. The crown, or exposed portion, of the teeth excepted, the bones are uni- 
versally invested, on the exterior, with periosteum (Beinhaut) ; and, for the most 
part, are provided internally with marrow ;* which, differing greatly in consistence, 
is, in the Cetacea (Cetaceen), a fluid oil (ein flussiger thran). 

§ 5. The teeth again, for the most part, excepted, the bones are formed by 
the ossification of original cartilages. This process of ossification appears, ceteris 
paribus, to commence earlier, and go on more rapidly, in viviparous (lebendig 
gebahrende) than in oviparous animals (Eyerlegende Thiere). This fact, at 
least, results from comparison of the incubated chick with the foetus of Mammi- 
fera (ungebohrne Saugethiere). Among the latter, again, many points of ossifi- 
cation are sooner completed in quadrupeds than in man. P. 



NOTES ON BRITISH INSECTS. 
By James Charles Dale, M.A., F.L.S., &c, &c. 

Coleoptera. — Cicindela sylvatica is found in great plenty on Parley Heath, 
in the New Forest, &c, in hot, dry, sandy paths or heaths, as early as May 9th, 
and appears in constant succession till October 9th, according to my journal. 
Cicindela maritima I have never taken, but have seen alive at Bourne Mouth, 
Hants, on hot, sandy places, near the sea, from the middle (?) of May ; and ac- 
cording to the MSS. of the late Captain Blomer, he found it in profusion near the 
mouth of the river Ogmore, in South Wales, in June, 1832, and sent me several, 

• Principal exceptions : The horns of the Stag, the long bones of the Seal, the Cetacea, 
attd the Turtle, which exhibit no medullary cavity ; and the air-hones of birds. 



13 



amongst which one appeared very nearly allied to, if not identical with, C. hybri- 
da. Cicindela Germanica I have found at Black-Gang-Chine, in the Isle of 
Wight, and in great profusion near Charmouth, and Seaton, where I also found 
the larva. It appears from the middle of June to the middle of September, and 
differs from the other Cicindelce in seldom taking wing, and delighting in wet 
places, among reeds, amidst which it runs very fast. It appears to be mostly con- 
fined to the coast, but has been found sparingly near Reading and Dartford. Ca- 
rabus purpurascens has been discovered near Weymouth, by Mr. Saunders, about 
1833. Carabus intricatus: one of these fine insects was caught in Mamhead 
Park, near Dawlish, a few years ago, and two specimens were taken amongst 
alders, at Shobroke, near Exeter, and are in the cabinet of a person at Taunton. 
Cistela curvipes was found on Lodmoor, near Weymouth, by Mr. Saunders. 
Platypus cylindricus, I took a few of, in the New Forest, on the 3rd of August 
last. Cryptocephalus bilineatus, in plenty near Langport and Carisbroke Castle. 
Anisoplia ruricola has been found abundant in the Devil's Ditch, and Triplow 
Heath ? and Gog Magog Hills, where I took one, June 26, 1833. It seems 
nearly confined to that part of the kingdom, one only having been found near 
Reading till, I believe, last July 6th, when I was surprized by taking one near Lul- 
worth, when I was in company with Frederick F. Morris, Esq. 

Lepidoptera. — In the British Museum is a curious larva, black, with white 
belts, and a spine on the tail, found on the pine, in Scotland, by Dr. Leach. The 
year 1834 seems to have been very favourable for the appearance of the sphin- 
gidce. Three specimens of Deilephila Livornica were taken near Peterborough, 
July 5, 1834, one of which (all p 's) laid eggs which were hatched and nearly full 
fed ; besides a larva taken by a boy near that place and killed, another was taken, 
about tb^e same time, near Worcester. One was found, April the 19th, 1829, 
at Wakering, Essex ; and other captures, within a few years, refute the idea of its 
not being British. A very perfect specimen (though faded, from having been 
hung up many years in a glass case, on a wall) is in the cabinet of the Rev. F. O. 
Morris. — Celerio : I have a very fine one, found at Brighton ; others have been 
found at Newcastle, Ramsgate, Worcester, Peterborough, near London, &c. — 
Achemon, of Drury : Mr. Stothard had one which, he said, he took in his garden, 
in Newman-street, Oxford-street, many years ago. — Euphorbia : there are two 
unset in the Linnean Cabinet, with a ticket — " Devon, Dr. Wavell, 1818." — 
Galii has been found at Bridgewater, Langport, Charmouth, Yarmouth, &c, all 
within these last two or three years : August and September seem to be the sea- 
son for it. — Atropos : August 15, 1825, Captain Blomer found a larva, very 
dark, and similar (?) to Fuesly's figure, near Bideford ; but the moth did not vary 
when bred. — Populi : I took a large pale variety of, July 30, 1808, and Captain 
Blomer bred another similar one, July 30, 1825. Those found in June are 
smaller, and darker in colour. 



14 

Noctua. — Haworthi, Curtis. There is a specimen in the Linnean Cabinet, 
marked " Angl., D. Jones, unknown." — Prcecox, in Linnean Cabinet, marked 
"Portland Island, Allen." — Citrina ? in Linnean Cabinet, marked "Noctua 
mucronea, B. Clark: Suff., Kirby, 1797; rariss." — Siona dealbata, near 
Lang-port, June, 1835 ; Mr. Quekett. — Arcturus : Mr. Westwood says that 
Mr. Curtis's genus Arcturus must be rejected, having been previously used by 
Latreille, to distinguish a genus of Crustacea. (Perhaps Latreille's genus Arc- 
turus may fall also, being used in Astronomy ; and Stephens's Janus has been 
used by Kirby and Spence). But what will be gained by its being changed ? 
Can a Moth ever be confounded with a Crab f The name Colias, a genus of 
Butter/lies, was previously used for a genus of Fishes, I believe, and yet it is con- 
tinued by all ; and perhaps neither may stand eventually, by the perpetual chang- 
ing of systems. Agabus is used for a genus of Water Beetles, but its proper sig- 
nification is a Locust ! ! 

Again ; Mr. Curtis is said to have placed Acentria at col. 137 of his Guide, 
at the end of Trichoptera. Mr. Curtis not being sure that Acentropus was iden- 
tical, of course gave another name, similar however, and, in the Guide, places it 
just before Lepidoptera, one of which Mr. Westwood considers it. Mr. Curtis's 
arguments have more weight with me that it is Trichopterous ; and they both 
agree that Stephens is wrong in putting it in the Neuroptera. 

Moses Harris, in his Vade Mecum, mentions his having seen an JEgeria on 
a flower, in Norwood. JEgeria ichneumoniformis I found an hermaphrodite 
specimen of, near Lulworth, on the 6th of July last ; August 5th and 1 1th, I 
found several at Carisbroke Castle, varying much in size. The small variety is 
figured by Mr. Wood as a new species, and named Muscceformis. Mr. Rudd took 
a very large and magnificent specimen on the 1 1th, which shews it was not too late, 
although several were much faded ; I also took one near Niton, on the 8th. The 
late Captain Blomer observed that they vary in size, and he found them in plenty 
near Teignmouth, settled on rocks from June 29 to the end of July. Some I 
observed were fond of the Ononis : they seemed partial to the neighbourhood of 
the sea. JEgeria vespiformis, (Curtis), I took in plenty, the end of May and 
beginning of June, in Clapham Park Woods, Bedfordshire : the first I saw was 
on a leaf of burdock ; but I afterwards found the larvae and pupae under the bark 
of the stumps of oaks, and found them in every stage at the same time. Mr. 
Rudd took one in the New Forest the end of May, 1834 ; and I saw one the 
beginning of August, 1835, hovering over an oak stump there, but lost it ; a cloud 
passing over the sun at the same time. Hypogymna dispar, found on the Turf 
Moor, near Shapwick, Somerset. In the Linnean Cabinet I observed a Moth 
allied to the genus Spilosoma, or Arctia. Whitish, or speckled slightly with 
black, and rather transparent, from Mr. Hudson ; but it is not noticed as British 
in any book I have seen : the antennae are too much pectinated for it to belong to 



15 

Spilosoma. Mr. Bentley bought the specimen of denudatus* of The Entomologi- 
cal Transactions, at the sale of the late Mr. Haworth. Penthrophera nigricans, 
I had found previously two larva? enclosed in cases, which I suspected to belong to 
this species, and I found one, August, 1835, on Parley Heath, which, not having 
bred the spring following, I cut open, and found it had changed to a pupa, but had 
died ; which I attribute to the shaking it got on my returning home, on horseback, 
a distance of nearly thirty miles. I hope to ascertain more, against another time, 
about this curious insect. Lobophera polycommata, one taken near Sparkford Inn, 
Somerset, end of February, 1832. In the Linnean Cabinet there is a very large 
specimen of Papilio Podalirius,\ I believe, from North America. Dr. Abbot 
mentions, in his MSS., having taken Pontia Raphani near Bedford, August 6, 
1799. I bought his collection, but I cannot make out which specimen he means 
by it, as there is a variety of Napi and one of Callidice with the name of glacialis 
on it. In the Linnean Cabinet I observed a Hipparchia, with a ticket, on which 
is " Angl., Hudson, rariss :" mixed with three or four more under the name Arca- 
nius ; but the one with the ticket has certainly nothing to do with Arcanius, and 
is either a variety of Davus or Polydama, and probably from the neighbourhood 
of Bala Lake, or Pemble Meer. The ? of Lyccena argiolus taken in the 
spring, have a narrow black tip to the superior wings ; that in the autumn, very 
broad. Hesperia comma, taken as early as July 22nd, 1835, on the Blandford 
race course. 

Diptera. — Cecidomya pictipennis I have found as early as February 10th, 
in 1832, on moss, and roots, &c, of Whitethorn. Anisomera ? nigra, a spe- 
cies with very long antennae (especially the $ ) found at Kenfig Pool, South 
Wales, by the late Captain Blomer, 1832. Leptomorphus Walheri, found dead 
in a window, at Blandford. Messala Saundersii I took at Glanville Wootton, 
this spring. Oxycera Leonina : the Rev. F. O. Morris gave me a J , and July 
9th last I took a <? at Charmouth. Oxycera Morrisii, I took one of, at Backs- 
bite, near Cambridge, June, 1833 ; which is the only locality I know of, besides 
the neighbourhood of Charmouth. Medeterus conspersus, on a boggy part of 
Lewel Heath, near Dorchester, 1835. CEstrus pictus : on the 31st of last July, in 
passing through some high fern near Rufus's stone, in the New Forest, two insects 
settled before me on the fern, which I missed taking, owing to the stems of the 
fern meeting the net. I thought, at the time, they were the CEstrus pictus. The 
next day, however, one came and settled before me on some dry leaves, near Lynd- 
hurst, which I captured. It varies a little from Mr. Curtis's figure, having the 
centre of the thorax tawny. Mr. Samouelle's specimen (figured by Curtis) was 
taken in June. 



* Mr. Raddon has a foreign specimen of denudatus. 

f Mr. Curtis has figured Podalirius on plate 578 of his British Entomology. 



16 

Hymenoptera. — Cephus satyrus, pusillus, and tabidus, abundant at Glan- 
ville Wootton, in 1835. Evania rninuta in plenty at Black-Gang-Chine, Isle of 
Wight ; also, Parley Heath, and near Mount Misery, 1835. E. fulvipes, 
one near Christchurch Head, August, 1835. Eumenes atricornis, I have 
seen small round earthen pods on the heath, but never knew what they were 
till this year, when I bred this species, on July 6th. I have taken it as early as 
May 26th, and as late as the end of August, on Parley Heath, New Forest, and 
Ramsdown ; and Captain Blomer found one or two in Wales. Nomada : I see 
by Captain Blomer's journal that he bred one I Sparazion frontale was found 
rather plentifully by Mr. Rudd and myself at Black-Gang-Chine and Parley Heath, 
last August, but not in the New Forest, I believe. Scelio rugolosus is in profu- 
sion at Lulworth. I have taken it at Glanville's Wootton, and other places, not 
uncommonly. 

Hemiptera. — Pentatoma pusilla : I took four specimens in an inclosure in 
the New Forest, June 27, 1832. Cydnus dubius taken on the Gog Magog Hills, 
in April, at Portland ferry, by Mr. Streatfield ; and I took a pair on Hodd Hill, 
August 19th, 1835. 

There has been some difference of opinion as to whether Lyccena Agestis, 
Salmacis, and Artaxerxes, form three, two, or only one species ; I am in fa- 
vour of the last, and consider the difference to arise merely from the influence 
of locality, or geographical distribution. The Artaxerxes, I believe, is not found 
south of the Tweed, excepting only one found in Devon, according to Dr. Leach's 
MSS. But I have observed a few having a slight black pupil to the ocelli, on the 
reverse side ; and one I took at Duddingston Loch has it more distinct than some 
of those taken at Newcastle, where it assumes the name of Salmacis ; some 
resembling the former, and some differing but little from our southern species 
(Agestis) or variety, and which has been supposed by some persons to be 
hybrids. From those who contend for three species, I would request opinions as 
to a specimen lately taken, near Langport, by Edward Paul, Esq., being evidently 
Agestis (a remarkably fine p ) with a more complete white spot, with a black 
pupil, than any I have seen from Newcastle ; and I have a specimen or two shew- 
ing a little white cincture to the black spot. Surely it would be going too far to 
make a. fourth species ; and yet it is better than Salmacis. I think this proves, 
beyond doubt, that they are but one species ; and I think this Langport variety an 
interesting capture. Mr. Bentley has a beautiful variety of Agestis, totally desti- 
tute of black ocelli on reverse. The larvae of Butterflies are not very often met 
with, and I should have thought the time to seek for them would be in the sun- 
shine ; but by the MSS. of the late Captain Blomer, I find he collected several 
by the use of a lanthorn, such as Hipparchia Galathea, Janira, &c. : and I find, 
also, he bred from larva a specimen of Lycozna Alsus, our smallest British But- 
terfly ; and from his journal I should imagine him to have been a most indefati- 
gable collector. 



NOTES OF A BOTANIST. 



To the Editors of " The Naturalist." 

The perusal of your prospectus has imparted to me, and I doubt not to 
many, a pleasurable satisfaction. That individual must, surely, be wilfully blind 
to what passes around him, who cannot recognize in very much of the boasted 
science of our times, an unhappy admixture of the leaven of scepticism ; and senti- 
ments are unblushingly promulgated, which, if extended to their extreme limits, 
would plunge us headlong into the vortex of unredeeming atheism. With some, 
indeed, it seems a matter of course to introduce into their communications, how- 
ever irrelevant, a sneer at revelation, by way of episode. Such cowardly and un- 
courteous conduct, so far from recommending science and increasing the number of 
her votaries, makes her features repulsive, and her lineaments unamiable. It is a 
flagrant breach of the rights and privileges of the commonweal, to convert science 
into a subtile medium for sapping the foundation of all religion, whether natural 
or revealed ; because the opinions thus infused happen to be the private senti- 
ments of the individual whose name they bear, but who may be a stranger to the 
multifarious arguments by which opposite conclusions may be supported and con- 
firmed. Far be it from me to fetter or to curb the reins of thought : nay, rather 
let thought expatiate boundlessly and range fearlessly among her magic creations. 
I would only stay her flight to forbidden regions, and confine her excursions to 
their legitimate province. 

The spontaneous origination of matter, innate vitality of atoms, convertibility 
of plants into animals, and its reverse, with all their numerous offsets and ramifi- 
cations, are among the hideous scars which mar the beauty of Natural History, in 
many of the writings of modern times. Vague and unmeaning hypotheses, 
remarkable only for their reckless folly, cradled among the atheistical notions of 
continental philosophy, form a chaos of absurdity in which not a few, I fear, of 
our pseudo-philosophers are now floundering purblind ; and unmitigated by a soli- 
tary ray of genuine truth, inculcate sentiments and opinions as hostile to induc- 
tive science, as they are to common sense and sober reason. 

The only maxims that will guide us surely and lead us safely, are those that 
own a Bacon for their counsellor, and a Newton for their engineer. Under 
their guidance and direction, the progress of knowledge will be solid and sterling, 
and her triumphs lasting and brilliant. The path of wisdom will then, indeed, be 
illuminated by a light from heaven. These are the tests and touchstone of 
genuine truth, and the only standard of legitimate appeal ; and, while one says, 
" I am of Lamarck," and another, " I of Latreille or St. Hillaire," be it mine, 

D 



18 

with Bacon, to admit nothing that bears not the stamp of trial and the signet of 
inductive scrutiny ; be it mine to accept no theory as valid, that is not the off- 
spring of accumulated facts, collected from the roll and register of multiplied and 
diversified experiments ; be it mine never to torture or to twist, lengthen or 
shorten, with the inquisition of a Procrustes, however ingenious may be the 
device and cunning, facts and experiments to suit preconceived whims and 
fancies ; be it mine, also, with Newton, to trace the phenomena of the universe of 
being, up to their divine origin and sublime and awful source. 

I cannot, therefore, but rejoice, that, in your prospectus, you have avowed 
yourselves as determined never to forget the dependence of the whole on the one 
Divine Originator. I am sure numbers will join with me, in wishing every suc- 
cess to a periodical that comes to us so highly recommended ; and I am quite cer- 
tain there can be no sound philosophy that does not recognize an intelligent first 
cause, and a prospective and legislative Providence. 

By way of apology for these preliminaries, I beg to communicate, ad inte- 
rim, a few miscellanea, as an earnest of something more elaborate for an early 
number. 

I. — Natural Ventilation of Seeds. 

This occurs to me as one among many questions of curious interest in the 
physiology of plants ; though I believe it has been entirely overlooked. The 
seed-vessel of the Heart's-ease is pendent and reversed ; the seeds are ultimately 
naked and exposed till the period for their dispersion arrives, when the seed-vessel 
becomes erect, and adjusts its open valves to imbibe the direct rays of the sun- 
beam. In the former case, it is evident that rain could not injure the immature 
seeds, nor moisture lodge within the cavities. In some plants we find the reverse 
of all this, the exception being provided for their peculiar contingencies. The 
Butter-nut, is supplied with an open slit, or natural vent, for the specific 
purpose of ventilation ; and there is, also, for the same reason, a circular 
orifice at the apex of the shell that encloses the triangular Brazilian Nuts — a shell 
possessed of adamantine hardness. By this opening atmospheric air, as in the 
former case, gains admission. In the capsules of the Poppy, the ventilating 
orifices are beneath the canopy which crowns them. On both sides of the Hura 
crepitans, or Monkey's Dinner-bell, there are narrow meshes, or windows, by 
which the air circulates, matures the seeds, and promptly dries up whatever mois- 
ture may find an occasional lodgement within the shell ; it would, otherwise, 
explode long before the period of maturity supervenes. In the Hernandia 
sonora, or Whistling Jack-in-a-Box, the air winds among the avenues of the 
seeds, there being a round aperture on the summit of the capsule, and the seeds 
occupying only a limited portion of the inner chamber : the tree thus becomes 



19 

vocal ; and the tropical traveller, often surprized by these unearthly sounds of the 
forest, starts affrighted. The Wild Carrot contracts and inflects its umbels 
during rain, and unfurls them in dry weather : the air then sifts and filters 
through the interstices, thus ventilating the seeds that might otherwise decay 
from excess of moisture. The spiral valves of the Didyrnacarpus rexii are sensi- 
ble hygroscopes ; they untwist in dry weather, and expose the seeds attached to 
the axis, to the genial and ripening influence of the atmosphere. In moist wea- 
ther, the valves will be found screwed closely together, completely impervious to 
air and moisture. Similar phenomena are very numerous, and examples might 
be indefinitely multiplied ; but these are sufficient to illustrate my position. 

II. — Dietetics and Therapeutics, as applied to Vegetation. 

That roots are selecting, discriminating, and appropriating organs, there can 
be no reasonable doubt ; nor can it be expected that all plants should subsist on 
the same kind of food. As plants are infinitely diversified in their appearance, 
condition, and the local circumstances under which they are found, with the phe- 
nomena presented in their secretions and excretions, it follows that a diversity of 
diet is necessary. Various earths, and diversified materials from animal and 
vegetable sources, afford the nutriment we commonly apply ; but oftentimes no 
rule of discrimination is adopted, for the same unvarying routine is incessantly 
repeated. Some peculiar kinds of plants are so much out of the ordinary way, in 
their port and manner, that they must, prima facie, enforce the importance of 
discrimination being necessary. The Drosera rotundifolia, and even the Pin- 
guicula — the Dioncea muscipula and Sarracenias — are all clearly more indebted 
to animal matter for their supplies than other sources, and hence are duly sup- 
plied with bristles, pouches, and traps, to entangle and to catch insects ; the 
decomposed animal matter being necessary to their well-being. 

In the year 1818, I discovered that the bulbs of Hyacinths, the Narcissus, 
Persian Iris, &c, grown in root-glasses, excreted carbonic acid gas, &c, by their 
fibres. Macaire has since verified the fact ; though I remember that, when I 
communicated the circumstance to Mr. Edward Rudge, he expressed much scep- 
ticism regarding the fact. This has, however, lately attracted considerable notice, 
and is likely to command still greater attention. Gum anime is found in cakes, 
among the roots of the Hymencea courbaril ; and it is notorious that the Sal- 
sola kali impregnates the soil, where it grows, with alkaline matter. The 
roots of many plants are very tenacious of life, and intense temperatures do not 
destroy their vitality ; the roots of the Vitex Agnus castus will not be affected, 
though immersed in boiling water ; and boiling water may, in many instances, be 
applied to the roots of plants, without injury. Again, if a mass of roots be 
divided into two parcels, acetate of lead, in solution, being absorbed on one side, 

d2 



20- 

may be evolved again, by tbe second parcel, on the other side. Certain plants 
may absorb some * poisons' by their roots, with impunity, which would be destruc- 
tive to others. Other phenomena illustrate and confirm these truths, and it 
would be altogether superfluous to detail them. 

But irrespective of the facts connected with the excretions of the roots which 
have been assumed as explanatory of the necessity of the rotation of crops, there 
is another interesting question involved in the curious inquiry, to which I am 
desirous to call attention, and which, as far as I know, has never been once sus- 
pected. It is this : how far particular plants may, or may not, prove injurious by 
their proximity to others, from exudations and exhalations of a more or less vola- 
tile kind, as well as gaseous products arising from stems, foliage, and flowers ; and 
therefore to what extent plants reciprocally affect each other. Certain plants grow 
freely side by side, or in juxta-position ; whilst the very reverse is the fact with 
others. Certain shrubs luxuriate beneath the shade of trees, and the copious 
showers that trickle from their branches ; while myriads would be destroyed 
under similar circumstances. Many plants perish near others, or disappear 
without any visible cause. Though the corrosive liquid that distils from the 
branches of the Manchineel is of too palpable a character to be questioned, there 
are others that seem more dubious. The blighting influence of the Barberry on 
certain crops, however, appears not to be apocryphal. The hardiest weed will not 
dare to shew itself beside that gigantic reed, the Bamboo ; and bees fall down 
dead suddenly, should they perchance alight on the branches of the Rhus vernix. 

J. MURRAY, F.L. & G.S. 

(To be continued.) 



AN ACCOUNT OF THE STRUCTURE OF THE HEART IN THE 
TESTUDO MYDAS, OR GREEN TURTLE. 

The heart, in the several families of the Tortoises and Turtles, presents 
curious peculiarities adapted to the mode of life of the animals in whom these ano- 
malies of anatomical disposition are met with. Each species varies a little in the 
anatomical structure of the central organ of the circulation ; but I shall, in this 
paper, take the Testudo mydas as the type of all animals of this order. The 
Testudo mydas, or Green Turtle, — the Tortue franche, of Cuvier, called by the 
Germans, die Griine Schildkrote, — is found on all, or most of, the coasts of the 
torrid zone, feeding upon the weed at the bottom of the ocean, approaching the 



Srt 



mouths of great rivers for the purposes of respiration, and landing on the sand,' 
daring the night, to deposit its ova. The individual from which the pre- 
sent description is taken, weighed about 1751bs., the heart, when removed from 
the body, and emptied of its blood, was about the size of a large lamb's heart, and 
pulsated for six hours after death ; the contractions of the heart, after they had 
apparently ceased, might easily be excited again by pricking it with the point 
of a needle. This excitability continued during three or four hours more. 

The heart of this order of reptiles is composed of four cavities, like those of 
the mammalia and birds ; two of the cavities receiving the blood from the body 
and lungs, the other two propelling it forward into the lungs, and to the system 
generally. Man and the higher orders of animals, as mammals and birds, have a 
perfect double circulation, the heart consisting of four distinct and separate cavi- 
ties ; two, the receiving parts, termed auricles, the propelling ones, called ventri- 
cles. The reptilia (of which the Turtles and Tortoises form the first order) have 
a circulation performed by an organ of a different anatomical construction : in 
these animals the cavities are still four-fold, but the cavities of the ventri- 
cles are not distinct from each other ; they have communications through which 
the blood returning from the body generally, and that received from the lungs, are 
intermixed, and consequently an imperfectly decarbonized fluid is sent to the eco- 
nomy at large. The heart of the Testudo mydas, of which a general view is 
given in Fig. 1, is composed of two auricles and two ventricles, a b and c d, like 



Fig. 1. 



Fig. 2. 





Fig. 1 — A front view of the heart, with the cavities of the right and left ventricles laid 
open. a. The right auricle, b. The left auricle, c. The right ventricle. <L The 
left ventricle, e. The pulmonary arteries. /. The aortse, three in number ; one 
destined to supply the head, neck, and fore limbs, the remaining two uniting to sup- 
ply the posterior half of the body. 

Fig. 2 — A back view of the heart, with the fissures, which mark the opening of the 
veins, returning the blood from the body and the lungs, a. The opening of the veins 
of the lungs into the left auricle. 6. The opening of the venae cavse returning the 
blood from the body to the right auricle. 



22 



that of the mammalia and birds ; the blood returning from the body, having cir- 
culated through it, i9 received first by the right auricle (a), and propelled from it 
into the right ventricle (c) ; but instead of being thrown from this cavity into 
the lungs completely, as it is in the circulation of all warm-blooded animals, we 
find that a portion only is distributed to these organs. The chief peculiarity in 
the heart is met with in this cavity, for from it all the blood-vessels of both lungs 
and body arise. From the extreme right of the cavity is sent off the aorta, or 
rather the aortae, for the vessel immediately divides into three, the centre one of 
which is distributed to the upper or fore limbs, head, and neck, whilst the two 
outer ones unite into one to supply the lower, or posterior, half of the body with 
blood. The blood sent to the lungs is received back into the left ventricle (d), 
and thence passed, through an opening between these two cavities, into the right 
ventricle. The course of the circulation is explained by the diagram, Fig. 4. 



Fig. 3. 



Fig. 4. 





Fig. 3 A diagram, representing the course of the blood when the animal is under 

water. The blood entering through the veins into the right auricle at b, passes di- 
rectly into the corresponding ventricle, and is propelled through the aorta ( d) ; thus 
following a single course, returning from the body, and immediately re-sent to it 
without passing through the lungs. 

Fig. 4. — A diagram, representing the double or mixed circulation, when the animal re- 
spires atmospheric air. The blood returning from the lungs, through the pulmonary 
veins (a), into the left auricle, passes through its corresponding ventricle, and thence 
into the right ventricle, through the opening in the septum, which divides them (e). 
The two currents of blood are here mixed, and re-propelled in this form , part to the 
lungs, through the pulmonary artery (cj, and the remainder through the aortae (d.) 



The blood returned to the left ventricle, from the lungs, is passed through, or 
thrown from, the left ventricle into the right, and hence, at once, by a dou- 
ble passage through the pulmonary artery (e) and the aortae (f), to the lungs 
and system generally. In the Crocodiles, and some species of Lizards, there is 
but one ventricle ; and here the blood returning from the body and lungs is mixed 
in the same way. In the various species of Frogs and Serpents, the heart is re- 
duced to two cavities, a single auricle and ventricle ; and hence the blood which 
has been fitted for circulation by the action of the air upon it in its passage 



23 

through the lungs, is still more completely mingled with that which has not been 
submitted to this action, and which is just returned from the body to the heart. 

The mode of life of the reptilia, most of whom are amphibious, renders this 
peculiarity in the structure of the heart necessary. The corporeal, or greater, 
circulation is, in these animals, in some measure independent of the lesser or pul- 
monary one ; for, in warm-blooded animals, no blood can pass into the left 
ventricle, and thence to the body, which has not previously passed through the 
lungs ; the aorta, a vessel which propels the blood to the body, arising, in all 
warm-blooded animals, from the left ventricle, and not from the right as in the 
reptilia. The blood cannot pass through the lungs except the animal breathes ; 
consequently, no circulation could go on as long as the animal was under water : 
but from the peculiarity of the structure of the heart, we find that the blood 
passes directly from the right auricle to the right ventricle, whence the aorta 
arises, and the blood is sent straight on to the body again, without passing through 
the lungs, as in warm-blooded animals. This circulation, however, cannot go on 
ad infinitum, with this decarbonized blood, and the reptile is obliged to seek the 
atmosphere at certain intervals, to take in supplies of air. I do not agree with 
Blumenbach entirely, when he supposes that the general or corporeal circulation 
alone goes on when the reptile is under water ; since the peculiarity of the lungs 
of the amphibia enables them to take in a supply of air which will last for a con- 
siderable time, and hence some degree, if not a perfect one, of arterialization of 
blood goes on when the animal is under water, as well as when he breathes atmos- 
pheric air. We may suppose, however, that a less quantity of blood passes 
through the lungs during the time the animal is under water, than when breathing 
air, and consequently the blood must be more imperfectly decarbonised at this 
time than at others, though under all circumstances the blood of the reptilia is of 
a lower temperature and of less stimulating character than in the animals of the 
classes of the aves and mammalia. 

L. P. 



ANIMAL PROGNOSTICS. 

Every observer of Nature must have often remarked with what certainty 
many animals give signs of a change in the weather. Those signs are, with us, 
most conspicuous in the summer ; and it is of rain, and not of fair weather, that 
they are given. Swifts and Swallows, though not one has been seen on the wing 
during weeks of drought, fly with ceaseless rapidity; and the former shrink 
from the top of the sky whenever the clouds above them are elaborating rain, and 
especially if that rain is accompanied with thunder. It is true that these birds do 



24 

not fly with so much assiduity, and indeed do not make their appearance during 
the day, until the cloud is formed, and the sky overcast. But then, it is not the 
darkness alone which brings them abroad ; for the mere cloud of day may 
darken the sky fully more than the incipient rain-cloud, and yet not a Swift shall 
be tempted to take wing. There is no doubt that these birds come forth to feed ; 
and consequently their insect prey must have the same feeling of the coming rain 
as they themselves have : but why insects should rise so high into the air, at these 
times, as the elevation at which the Swifts are found hawking, is a matter which 
we cannot easily determine. 

Almost all birds which have been silenced by the drought renew their songs 
upon the approach of rain. Domestic poultry, also, make more noise than on 
other occasions ; and the cackling of Geese, the gabbling of Turkies, the wailing 
of Guinea Fowl, and the screaming of Peacocks, are blended together in full 
chorus. It is somewhat remarkable that Chanticleer does not sound his silver 
bugle upon these occasions, but reserves it to welcome the day-spring from the 
east. Indeed, when the others are all in bustle and activity, as if rejoicing at the 
coming rain, he and his companions betake themselves to the roost, or at all 
events look out for shelter. There is something worthy of notice in this. Geese 
and Turkies are the most joyous inhabitants of the farm-yard upon these occa- 
sions. Geese are everywhere natives of humid places ; for though they are, per- 
haps, the least aquatic of all web-footed birds, they do not thrive if they have not 
access to water. Turkies, too, are natives of the forests , of North America, in 
which humidity is the prevailing character of the atmosphere ; and it is by no 
means improbable that the rapid decrease of wild Turkies in the settled parts of 
the United States, is as much owing to the dry air which has been produced by 
destroying the woods, as to the vigilance of Jonathan with his rifle. The com- 
mon domestic Fowl, on the other hand, is a, native of the jungles of India, where 
drought is the prevailing character of the climate ; and their plumage suffers more 
from rain than that of any other bird with which we are acquainted. The Guinea 
Fowl comes from a country of a somewhat intermediate character ; its native zone 
being that between the northern and southern trade-winds, where the atmosphere 
is not under the control of either of the general currents ; and thus it is easily 
disturbed by the production of heavy showers, by local causes. 

Many other instances of prediction of the summer rain-storm, in animals 
freely exposed to the atmosphere, will occur to the reader ; and it will always be 
found that animals which are pleasurably excited on such occasions, are originally 
natives of moist climates, or of humid places; while those which are painfully 
excited inhabit the dry country, and suffer from exposure to rain. We have a re- 
markable instance of this in the domestic Cat, whose face-washing and general 
trimming of her fur, has been the cottage barometer time out of mind ; and the 
observation has been too repeatedly made to be doubtful. This operation of the 



Cat is performed equally whether the animal is snugly housed beside the cottage 
fire, or out of doors, exposed to the air. It happens, too, sooner before the actual 
fall of rain, than the prognostics of most other animals. In this last circumstance 
there is a philosophical truth, which it is desirable that some intelligent reader of 
The Naturalist would work out and give to the world, through its pages. The 
domestic Cat is, of all animals with which we are very familiar, by far the most 
electric ; that is, the most susceptible to electric action. Clear and dry air is 
well known to be a non-conductor of electric action ; and the more dry and clear 
the air is, the more agreeable to Pussey. It is, indeed, highly probable that 
the love of dry air, as much as the love of heat, brings the Cat to bask by the 
fire when the air is damp and raw : but the subject has not been studied with the 
attention which it deserves, for, strange though it may seem to some, the Cat 
may be of more real service to the philosopher, in the study of meteorology, than 
it was to Whittington in acquiring that wealth which enabled him to purchase the 
triple mayoralty, or to Katerfelto in assisting him to impose upon the credulity 
of the multitude, as a conjurer, 

"At his own wonders, wond'ring for his bread." 

For the investigation of so delicate a fluid as the atmosphere, in the variations 
of its electric state, as resulting from the quantity of humidity in it, and from its 
motions, we want instruments of the most delicate kind ; and no one will deny 
that the body of an animal must, under any circumstances, be a far more delicate 
instrument than any which can be made with hands. The finest of these must' 
still be made of matter ; and, consequently, the atmospheric change must be great 
enough for acting upon matter, before such an instrument can possibly point it 
out. The feeling of the animal, on the other hand, is not matter, but a result of 
the organization of matter ; and, therefore, it must be sensible down to almost the 
extreme of smallness in atmospheric change, or in any other agent by which it is 
affected. Those effects of minute or incipient changes upon delicate animals, 
require a great deal of caution on the part of the observer ; hasty conclusions, 
ought not, therefore, to be attempted to be drawn from them. They always 
precede our own observation ; and though they are, in themselves, unerring, we 
must use the same precaution with regard to them as we would do in all other 
matters of reasoning : and it is this which brings us to one of the essential points 
of the case — why should the lower animals be more weather-wise than we are ? 

This is a very important question, not only as it concerns those animals, but 
as it bears on the highest — the immortal — interests of man. Simple as it, at first 
sight, appears, it really involves the whole distinction between animals, which have 
no powers beyond those that result from the organization of material substance, 
and man, whose noblest powers are those which are exercised by an immaterial 

VOL. I. E 



26 

and indivisible, and therefore immortal, spirit. There is no question that, in as 
far as man is animal, his organization is more perfect, in all its parts, than that of 
any of the irrational animals ; some of these exceed him in one particular appli- 
cation of their powers, and some in another. He has not, for instance, the scent 
of the Blood-hound, the swiftness of the Antelope, or the wing of the Eagle. But 
when we take it into consideration that the human body is only the instrument 
fitted for the use of a superior principle, while the body of the animal is both the 
principle and the instrument, we cannot fail to perceive that the universality of 
adaptation of which the human body is capable, is far better fitted for being obe- 
dient to all the purposes of an intellectual principle, than if the principal exertion 
of which it is capable had been concentrated upon some one particular kind of 
action, as is the case with those animals to which we have alluded, and, indeed, 
with every animal, except man. 

From this general perfection of organization in the human body, we must 
conclude that if man had been entirely dependent upon animal instincts, as the 
rest of the living creation are — that is, if there had been nothing intervening be- 
tween the impression on the bodily sense, general or local — man would have re- 
quired, and would, according to the universal law which runs through the whole 
creation, have possessed more perfect instincts, and instincts more sentient to 
every change of external circumstances, than any other animal whatsoever. But 
in man there comes in a middle operation between the impression, or the sensal 
body, and the action ; and it depends upon this middle part whether there 
shall be an action, or even a feeling, of the system, consequent of the impression 
upon the sense. This is a beautiful part of the physiology of man, and a part 
which gives him great advantages in a mental point of view. If man had been 
compelled by instinct to obey, or even to feel, every little variation or casualty 
from without, he could never by possibility have had repose and quietude enough 
for carrying on any elaborate process of thought. The temperature, the pressure, 
the motion, the humidity, and the electric state of the atmosphere by which our 
bodies are surrounded, at all times and at every point, are in a state of perpetual 
change ; and if man had been sensitive to every slight shade of those changes, his 
life would have been both unprofitable and miserable. The gentle breeze would 
have shaken him as with an ague ; the summer sun would have scorched him into 
agony ; and the winter frost would have chilled him to an icicle. 

We have approximate proofs of this in those whose bodies have an extreme 
degree of sensibility, or who are, as it is popularly denominated, of a nervous 
temperament ; and all of us — except such as have the general structure of their 
bodies knit and sinewed by habitual exposure to the variable atmosphere, or are 
placed in an atmosphere so artificial as that the natural changes which are going 
on without have no effect upon them — at times feel, in our own systems, the pain 
of this kind of sensibility. This pain, though we often cannot give it a name, or 
assign it a local seat in any one part of the system, is torment to us beyond the 



27 

suffering of ordinary physical disease. We are ill we know not of what ; and yet 
the sensibility of the system is so unimpaired by our indescribable illness, that 
acute bodily pain would be deliverance from such suffering. 

A future opportunity may occur for inquiring into the peculiar tone of the 
sentient system in man which is most accordant with efficient mental operation ; 
but we may, in the mean time, remark that this is a medium state, and that the 
bodily sensibility may be either too dull or too acute for the exercise of vigorous 
thought, or the performance of useful action. If it is too obtuse, the mind does not 
receive the impression, and, of course, neither thought nor action can follow ; and 
if, on the other hand, it is too acute, the anguish of the bodily feeling makes so 
strong an impression, that the mind is incapable of applying its common mode of 
judgment, by analogy, to the cause of the impression, and its effect external of 
the body. It is the mental operation which is injured both by too much obtuse- 
ness and too much acuteness of the sense : and in each case the conduct of the 
human being approximates that of a mindless animal ; and in the extreme cases 
the approximation may be so close that no observation can draw the line of dis- 
tinction between them. 

It is these extreme cases of insensibility and sensibility of the body, to which 
the names of idiocy and mania are given. In common language, we call both of 
them mental derangements ; but no word can be worse applied. The mind, in 
order to be immortal, must be perfectly simple, and incapable of any division of 
parts, even in imagination ; because, if the existence of separate parts were ima- 
ginable, the separation of those parts would also be imaginable ; and this separa- 
tion would be the death of the mind, and man would be brought down to the level 
of the beasts that perish. But, if composition be inconsistent with our original 
idea of mind, mental derangement must be equally so ; for it is not possible to 
derange one single existence, be that existence what it may. To return from this 
digression, which, however, is far from being an useless one : we can see how 
wise and how good it is that the sentient part of the human frame is so tempered 
that it does not habitually break in upon the operations of mind ; and, because 
we are worse barometers than the animals which we have mentioned, and, indeed, 
than all mindless animals, we are thinkers and philosophers, and they are not. 

The animal which has the action instantly consequent upon the sensation, 
without any intermediate mental judgment by comparison with former experience, 
is, of course, wholly at the mercy of external circumstances, and compelled as 
necessarily and as instantly to obey every change of these to the full amount of 
its influence, as a fragment which the lightning shivers from the precipice is ne- 
cessitated to descend by the force of gravitation. It is this perfect obedience of 
the system of mindless animals to the circumstances of Nature external of them, 
which renders the study of them so very valuable for meteorological purposes ; 
and this study deserves far more attention than it has hitherto received. 

e 2 R. M. 



OBSERVATIONS ON THE ARGULUS FOLIACEUS, (Jurine), 

AS INJURIOUS TO GOLD AND SILVER FISHES. 

By Miss Dobson. — (Communicated by Mr. George Samouelle). 




Genus 85. Argulus, Miill., Jurine, Leach, Desmarest, Samouelle ; 
Binoculus, Geoffroy, Latreille. 

Shell oval, somewhat membranaceous, semi-transparent, anteriorly rounded, 
deeply notched behind : two hemispheric eyes inserted at the anterior and lateral 
parts of the clypeus : antenna; very small, inserted above the eyes : rostellum 
sterniform : twelve legs, unequal in size and form ; first pair shorter, very mem- 
branaceous, capable of changing their form, broader at their tips, and constructed 
for adhering to objects ; second pair prehensile, curved, much thicker towards 
their base, the thighs furnished with three spinules beneath ; tarsi of the second 
pair three-jointed, the last joint with two claws and a pulvillus ; four hinder pairs 
inserted at the sides of the abdomen, somewhat cylindric, formed for swimming, 
with their points bifid : abdomen cylindric ; tail bilobate. 

Sp. 1. Arg. foliaceus, Jurine. 

Argulus delphinus, Miill., Enton., 123. Monoculus Argulus, Fabr., Ent. 
Syst., 489. Argulus foliaceus, Leach, Suppl. to Encycl. Brit., p. 405. ; 
Desmarest, Considerations des Crust., p. 329, pi. 50, fig. 1, a. e. 



29 

This species, which is the only one of the genus that has hitherto been 
noticed, inhabits ponds and rivulets, adhering to the larvae of frogs and to fishes, 
particularly the pike. The larva has been described, by Miiller, as a distinct 
species, under the name of Argulus charon : in this state, it differs from the 
full-grown animal in size, and in having four cylindric, equal, biarticulated, pen- 
ciliated oars, two of which are attached to the animal above the eyes, and are fur- 
nished at their tips with four setae ; the other two, below the eyes, being termi- 
nated with three setae : the two anterior legs are incrassated, elongated, and ter- 
minated by a strong bent claw. 

The full-grown animal lays from one to four hundred eggs, which are yellow, 
ovate, and smooth, being generally deposited on stones, in two contiguous, longi- 
tudinal series. These eggs are hatched in about thirty days. The perfect animal 
is a most beautiful and highly interesting transparent object for the microscope.* 

The following are the observations of Miss Dobson, on this singular parasite. 
" I took a gold fish out of a pond, that had been in a very sickly state for two or 
three months. Thinking it nearly dead, as it was lying on its side on the surface 
of the pond, I put it into a pan of water ; and in an instant I saw a diminutive 
insect swimming about very actively. I immediately examined a portion of the 
same water, supposing the insect might have bred in it, and that I should find 
more of them : I was, however, mistaken, the water being perfectly clear. I re- 
turned to the gold fish, and found the number of insects increased ; which led me 
to imagine they must have come from the fish. I therefore examined it, and per- 
ceived that the fins were perfectly covered with them, and several on different 
parts of the body. Finding I could not brush them off, I took the animal in my 
hand, and was obliged to scrape them off with my nail, they adhered so tightly. 
The fins were very much injured, being divided into threads ; and one quarter of 
the tail was quite eaten away. The fish was greatly swollen ; the scales stood 
erect ; and the flesh between the scales had the appearance of jelly. It breathed 
with such difficulty, that I expected, in a short time, to find it dead : I was, there- 
fore, much surprized on the following morning, to perceive the fish still alive, and 
a little improved ; but the water smelt quite putrid, from the diseased state of the 
fish. By changing the water every day, the fish improved so wonderfully that 
the scales began to assume their proper condition, the swelling gradually de- 
creased, and it became very lively ; catching at some worms thrown into the 
water, and shaking them as a cat does a mouse. Having heard that fishes 
were very fond of graves in clay, I put a small ball into the dish. On the fol- 
lowing morning, to my great regret and disappointment, I found the fish dead. 
Had it not been for this injudicious treatment, I feel persuaded it would have 
recovered. 

• Samouelle's Entomologist'' & Compendium, second edit., p. 126. 




30 

" Immediately after I had relieved the fish from the insects, I placed one under 
my microscope ; and no longer wondered at the difficulty I experienced in remov- 
ing them from the fish. On each side of the throat is fixed a large hollow tube, 
capable of expansion and contraction to a considerable degree, imparting a won- 
derful power of adhesion, which enables the insect, notwithstanding its diminu- 
tive size and delicate formation, to hold so firmly to any substance as to require 
some force to remove it. The mouths of these tubes are very beautifully formed, 
being fringed all round with hair, folding over the edge or lip. Independent of 
these extraordinary tubes, they are provided with eighteen strongly-formed hooks, 
no doubt wonderfully provided to resist the violent agitation of the water. On the 
top of what I consider to be the antennae, is placed a very long, sharp, 
pointed hook, apparently of a horny substance, very suddenly bent 
downwards. The horn seems to be placed in a socket or band, which 
the insect has the power of turning round at pleasure. In the middle 
of the horn, and on the band or socket, are likewise placed two more short, strong 
hooks ; two between the horns, two much lower on the breast, below which are 
two more. Extending from each side the body (independent of four forked legs, 
or paddles, which are thickly fringed with strong hairs) is an arm, or fore-leg, 
with three socket joints, very thick set towards the body ; on the elbow of which 
are placed three of the same powerful hooks as above 
stated. The legs, or paddles, are kept in constant 
movement ; the body terminates in an elegantly form- 
^v^s' ed tail, partially divided. The eyes are large, promi- 
nent, and very beautiful, situated on each side the horns, arranged in rows, with 
a distinct division between each row, apparently as though they were a 
number of brilliant globes, or precious stones, floating in jelly, and en- [<? oo°J 
closed in a transparent skin : they have likewise two pairs of palpi, or \o o1°oJ 
feelers, one behind, the other below, the horns, which I should not 
have discovered, from their being so extremely delicate and transparent, had I not 
had such frequent opportunities of observing the insect in a living state, under va- 
rious different powers. The mouth is a long tube, extending from the centre of 
the forehead almost down to the breast, capable of expanding and contracting to a 
considerable length, in the form of a proboscis. The back of the insect has the 
appearance, in form, of the Cassida, or Tortoise Beetle, only of a soft flexible tex- 
ture, without any division, or wings : on the under side of which it is wonderfully 
provided with numerous clusters (particularly round the head, tubes, &c.) of 
strong, but small, hooks, perfectly formed, which might, at first, be mistaken for 
hairs, until submitted to a strong magnifying power. 

" After taking the insects from the fish, I left them in the same water till the 
following morning, by which time it had become quite offensive ; before changing 
it I attentively, and for some length of time, observed their different actions ; and 




31 



perceiving one of them more agitated than the rest, I watched it particularly, and 
fancied, what proved in reality to be the case, that it was casting its skin. Had 
I not witnessed this operation, I should have been deprived of much information 
and gratification. Notwithstanding the skin is so delicate, and when in the 
water so purely the same colour, a close observation afforded me the opportunity 
of collecting as many skins, during the time I was able to retain the insects alive, 
as, I think, were thrown off. The next object that struck my attention, was the 
appearance of a cluster of minute eggs, floating on the surface of the water, encir- 
cled by something that had the appearance of oil ; specimens of which I placed on 
two glasses. 

" On placing the cast skin under the microscope, I observed that each hair with 
which the legs or paddles are provided, was thickly set on each side with a row 
of fine hairs. I could not discover in the cast skins any portion of skin that 
could cover the eyes ; the thin transparent membrane, therefore, that covers them 
in the perfect insect, has no appearance of net- work, as in most other insects. 

" The insects became gradually weaker, and in four or five days they all died. 
I took a sketch of one before it was quite dead, which I think will convey a tolera- 
ble idea of the animal in its living state ; as those prepared as specimens on glass, 
although very beautiful, do not, in consequence of their dried state, convey to the 
observer a correct idea of the insect without such aid ; the cast skin assists, like- 
wise, in its developement. 

" The circulation of the blood, with a high magnifying power, was particularly 
interesting." 

Mr. Samouelle has subjoined the following additional observations : — " On Sun- 
day, May 20, 1836, I caught two insects, male and female, the latter full of ova, 
which, in the course of the same night, were deposited on the sides of the glass, 
in a cluster, to the number of seventy-nine. In order to give the insects food, I 
tried the experiment of their feeding for a time on the dead gold-fish, which they 
did for two days ; when, on their appearing rather weakly, I removed them from 
the fish, and the water becoming impure, I restored them to the glass where the 
eggs were deposited ; they became evidently refreshed, and the female hovered 
over and about the spot where the previous eggs were laid, and in the course of 
the same night she laid twenty-four more, and, after a short time died. By way 
of experiment, and as a resource for food, I had some minnows caught for the 
other, to see if it would feed upon them. It remained in the vessel for two days, 
when it disappeared, and I suppose it was eaten by the minnows. The eggs still 
remain unhatched, June 13th." 

The engraving at the commencement of the article represents the Argulus fo- 
liaceus magnified, and of the natural size. 



^ 



OBSERVATIONS ON THE SCARCE SWALLOW TAIL, 

(PAPILIO PODALIRIUS.) 

By J. E. 

As the Lepidoptera are more attractive than the generality of our native 
insects, and as the butterfly has " found favour even in ladies' eyes," the announce- 
ment of the capture of one of the rarest and most elegant, the scarce Swallow 
Tail, Papilio podalirius, will be hailed, we doubt not, with joy, and still more 
happy will he be who can obtain a specimen of it. In a late number of Mr. 
Curtis's .British Entomology, a specimen of this Papilio has been figured, which 
was taken near Windsor, by W. H. Rudston Read, Esq. and others have lately 
been purchased, as British, by G. Robertson, of Limehouse, and Dr. Bromfield, 
of Hastings. The principal object of calling attention to this subject is the hope 
that when this butterfly is generally known, others will come forward and furnish 
additional proof of British specimens having been taken ; for although, like many 
others, it only apppears occasionally, yet when seasons are congenial to its habits, 
it will appear probably for many successive years. It is now known to be found at 
Hamburgh, which is as far to the north as York ; therefore, the erroneous idea that 
its northern range renders its appearance here impossible, is no longer tenable. 
There is one thing, however, that collectors ought to be warned of, P. podalirius, 
and many other insects rare in Britain, are common enough on the Continent, and 
are easily obtained from thence, even in the larva state, and we are sorry to 
have reason to believe there are individuals who see no objection to selling such as 
British, in order to enhance their value. 



THE ALYSSUM CALYCINUM. 

The Alyssum calycinum has been lately discovered in Charnwood Forest, 
about half way between Gracedieu and Whitwick, in a botanizing excursion, by 
the Messrs. Churchill and Arthur Babingtons, and the Rev. Andrew Bloxam. 
It was found growing sparingly in a small field adjoining some rocks, amongst 
Medicago lupulina. Specimens have been sent to Mr. Watson, Professor Hen- 
slow, and other eminent botanists. This is the first time that the plant has been 
noted as growing in England. It was, however, discovered in two places in Scot- 
land last year, at Dirleton Common, Haddingtonshire, and on the coast of Forfar, 
and a notice of it communicated to the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, 
by Professor Graham ; it is also introduced into Mr. Watson's remarks on the 
distribution of British plants. 



3^ 



ON THE FEN REEDLING, 

(Salicaria Arundinacea, Selby), Reed-Wren, or Reed-Warbler, 
of other Ornithologists. 

By Edward Blyth. 

Having some reason to suspect that this lively little songster is more gene- 
rally diffused over the country than is commonly supposed, and apprehending that 
few distinguish its chant from that of the Sedge Reedling ( S. phragmitis), lam 
induced to offer a few observations to the attention of naturalists residing in dis- 
tricts where it has been hitherto undiscovered, in the expectation that they will lead 
to its detection in many localities where its presence has, as yet, been quite un- 
suspected. 

Of course it is unnecessary here to describe the plumage and technical cha- 
racter of the species, as these will be found in most works on British ornithology. 
Bewick, however, omits to figure the bird, but annexes its name to a represen- 
tation pf the Sedge Reedling, obviously confounding the two together. The 
Sedge Reedling abounds in watery situations all over the country, even to the 
northernmost districts of Scotland ; and no person of the least observation can 
be otherwise than familiar with its abrupt and chattering, but certainly not un- 
pleasing, song, with which it incessantly enlivens every ditch, continuing to do so 
until about the middle or latter end of June ; after that time it is seldom heard. 
It is a strange medley of a song, though, at the same time, it is altogether original ; 
combining a characteristic chiddy, chiddy, chit, chit, chit, with a very sparrow- 
like chou, chou, and an occasional and emphatic peet-weet, reminding one forcibly 
of the Chimney Swallow. Then comes, perchance, a series of harsh, jarring 
tones, followed, perhaps, by a seeming imitation of something else ; and not unfre- 
quently the bird mounts, singing, a little way into the air, or chirrups as it flits 
from bush to bush, or from willow to willow. I am sure that there are very few 
who will not immediately recognize it from this description ; more particularly if 
they have been accustomed to perambulate marshy and sedge-tufted places, during 
the spring and summer. 

The extremely passerine character of many of this little bird's chirpings, have 
gained for it, in various places, the vulgar appellation, " Reed Sparrow ;" just as 
the homely garb and familiar manners of the common Hedge Dunnock, another 
bird of slender bill, have occasioned the equally erroneous but popular name, 
" Hedge Sparrow," to be its ordinary cognomen. 

Now, I certainly am not one of those who are willing to accept any kind of 
name, merely because it chance to be popularly applied. Undoubtedly there 
should be some rules for nomenclature, some system to regulate caprice. If any 

VOL. I. f 



34 

meaning is to attach to the word " sparrow," if it is to signify a particular form 
among the feathered race, surely those species ought alone to be called sparroiv 
which exhibit the characters briefly denoted under that name. To apply it to 
birds of other form occasions only unnecessary confusion. If a new species were 

to be denominated sparrow, we should, of course, expect it to pertain to 

the genus Passer ; and why, therefore, do some naturalists persist in using erro- 
neous appellations, merely because, in some districts, they happen to be popular ? 
I say some districts only, because there are really very few names which are in 
general use throughout the country ; consequently a classical and systematic nomen- 
clature is doubly needed. In the south of England, for instance, what terms appear 
to be more universally accepted than Goldfinch, Tomtit, and Kingfisher ? Yet 
the first applies, in Yorkshire, to the Yellow Bunting, the second, in the same 
county, to the common Wren, and the third, in Sutherlandshire, invariably 
denotes the Dipper. Not long ago, I heard a ludicrous dispute between a 
Yorkshireman and a native of Surrey, respecting which bird was the " Tomtit," 
the former insisting that the southron's Tomtit meant the Blue-cap ! What 
we in Surrey term the Goldfinch, is, in Yorkshire, better known as the Thistle- 
finch ; in Suffolk and Norfolk it is as popularly designated King Harry, and in 
Scotland it is the Gooldie, or Gould-speuk, of our northern neighbours. But 
while I advocate a well-digested and temperate reformation of the vernacular names 
to objects of Natural History, let me by no means be understood to adopt every 
ill-sounding name which some nomenclators, in their great enthusiasm, have 
proposed. At some future time I shall probably take the subject in hand myself, 
and hope that whatever new names I shall then have to offer, will not only possess 
the merit of propriety and exclusiveness of application, but will, also, not offend 
the more fastidious, by their want of euphony. It will, also, be my object to 
introduce as few new terms as possible, as I see no occasion for substituting 
" Goldwing" for Siskin, as the vernacular for Carduelis, " Treeling" for Petty- 
chaps, &c, as some have done. 

But to return to what in Surrey is called the Reed-^arrow. Our naturalists 
are mistaken in supposing that people in general (that is to say, unscientific ob- 
servers of discrimination) ordinarily confuse, as professed naturalists have done,* 
the Sedge Reedling with the Reed Bunting. I have generally found that both 
birds were well known, and their respective notes also. I believe they will be 
found everywhere to be distinguished by separate names, and in Surrey the Reed 
Bunting is called " Blackheaded Bunting ;" as good a name, without reference to 
its foreign congeners, as the more exclusive one now judiciously employed by all 
our naturalists. 

The Fen Reedling, however, about which the present paper is professed to be 

" Witness the various accounts of the Reed Bunting's song. 



35 



written, is very commonly confounded with its congener, by observers of all de- 
scriptions, when in its native haunts. In the hand, the two species are sufficiently 
dissimilar, and, for members of the same very natural genus, are by no means 
closely allied ; but, in the bush, a little attention is necessary to discrimate be- 
tween the two, and our naturalists are, I think, generally culpable, for not describ- 
ing, with more precision, how they are then to be known apart. Thus, Montagu 
simply informs us that " their notes are similar f forgetting that this very simili- 
tude rendered it doubly incumbent on him to point out whatever difference there 
may be between them, as most of his readers would, doubtless, be much better 
pleased to be enabled to distinguish the two in their native wilds, than as mere 
cabinet specimens, removed from their places in nature. It should be the con- 
stant aim of the ornithologist to pourtray his various subjects as they appear in 
their wild haunts, in order that his readers may at once recognize them in a state 
of freedom. In this respect, many of Mr. Mudie's eloquent descriptions may be 
cited as absolute models of perfection. 

The Fen Reedling's notes are, most undoubtedly, very similar to those of its 
congener ; but may be distinguished by a little attention to the following particu- 
lars. The song is even more hurriedly delivered, and is, also, more continuous ; 
there are no harsh discordant chirpings, no apparent imitations of the Sparrow or 
Chimney Swallow ; at the same time, the chant is certainly less varied, and, 
indeed, consists but of an incessant repetition of a number of detached chirrups, 
some of which are, however, by no means unmusical. This, also, is kept up night 
and day, though less habitually in the night season than that of the Sedge Reed- 
ling ; and it is never uttered with more emphasis than when any one is very near 
the nest, an incident which provokes many of what are commonly termed " the 
Warblers" to sing loud, particularly the Blackcap and other Fauvets, as most 
bird's-nesting persons must have often noticed. The Fen Reedling sometimes 
chirrups on the wing, as it passes from one bush to another, but I believe it never 
rises singing into the air, like its only ascertained British congener. It also con- 
tinues to chatter much later in the season than the Sedge Reedling, and may be 
heard till about the middle or third week of July ; wherefore those observers who 
may have fancied that they have heard the Sedge Reedling until this period, will 
do well to entertain at least a suspicion that it was S. arundinacea, that is to say, 
if they were not previously well acquainted with the notes of the latter species.* 

" I have since heard a Sedge Reedling pertinaciously chattering on the 20th of July, 
but during a refreshing thunder-shower, succeeding a long period of drought ; a juncture 
at which, of all others, the feathered race are particularly musical; (see Mudie's description 
of the Green Woodpecker). Although many Fen Reedlings were in the vicinity, they 
were all silent, and I heard only that one Sedge Reedling, where, a few weeks before, 
both species would have vied in garrulity. As a general rule, therefore, this does not affect 
what I have above stated. The same evening, the Fen Reedlings were singing in the 

f2 



36 

Some writers have made out the Fen Reedling too exclusively an inhabitant of 
reedy places, which, after all, are not its most favourite habitat. No doubt it is 
commonly found in such situations, and frequently suspends, or rather fastens, its 
nest to a few contiguous reed-stems, as I have seen repeatedly ; but I have more 
commonly observed it in tall bushes growing near the water, and sometimes placed 
against the trunk or large branch of a willow or poplar, interlacing one or two 
upright side shoots. When there are gardens adjoining its haunts, it very com- 
monly selects a lilac-bush, and in such localities the nest will be rarely found 
among the reeds. I have now a beautiful specimen before me, which is fastened 
to a single slender stem of elder, from which, within the centre of the fabric, 
issues a young green shoot, the extremity only of which is visible.* One, 
described by Mr. Rennie, was situate within a tuft of lucerne, and, consequently, 
very near the ground ; but I have seen them at a height of ten, twelve, and even 
fifteen feet from the surface, placed amid the perpendicular shoots of willow or 
lilac. This species is very partial to gardens in watery situations, and will usually 
admit of a much closer approach than its congener ; but still, the glances one is 
enabled to get at it are so momentary, and oftentimes against the light, that unless 
our suspicions are aroused, it is seldom that an unpractised eye can tell it readily 
from the Sedge Reedling. Its bill, however, is considerably larger, and the whole 
plumage of a much more uniform tint, without the pale streak over the eye, so 
conspicuous in the other species. 

The Sedge Reedling's nest is always placed near the ground, amid a thick tuft 
of herbage, or among the shoots from a low stool of willow : it is of somewhat 
massive construction, a great deal of material being worked up, and the cavity 
deep, containing often as many as seven eggs, of a pale ground colour, thickly 
besprinkled with small, confluent, greenish specks, which, at the large end, often 
form a zone ; sometimes a few larger ash-coloured spots are observable, and, not 
unfrequently, some blackish dashes at the large end, which may be easily washed 
off by simply wetting them : a mode that will obliterate many of the darker mark- 
ings upon the eggs of birds. The young of this species differ very little from 
their parents, but have a number of dusky spots upon the breast. Interior of the 
mouth bright orange. 

same place, with very great spirit ; which confirms an observation I have often made, that 
night-singing birds always continue their notes longer by night than in the day-time. 

• I have subsequently seen a nest about which was wound a long piece of fishing. 
tackle. ' This nest was situate about twelve feet from the ground, and was fastened to 
some slender twigs of Viburnum : in construction it more resembles those specimens which 
are built among the reeds, being otherwise chiefly composed of the seed-tops and softer 
leaves of reeds and sedges, without any moss or cottony substance interwoven. It is, how- 
ever, considerably less compact and neatly finished than that described in the text, and 
contains a less quantity of material. Those in the reeds are mostly of elegant formation. 



3? 

The nest of the Fen Reedling also contains a good deal of material, but more 
compactly and beautifully interwoven. It is also very deep, whether it be placed 
among the reeds, where it is liable to be blown about by the winds, or amid the 
clustering, rigid stems of the poplar, when perfectly secure from such annoyance. 
The eggs are most usually five in number (more than which I have never known), 
of a pale, greenish white, blotched all over, and spotted with greenish brown, 
and sometimes a few spots of ash colour : there are likewise commonly some 
dark marks at the larger end, which, as in those of the other species, may be soon 
obliterated. The young are altogether more rufous than their parents, particu- 
larly on the throat and under parts, but have no trace of the breast-spots ob- 
servable in the other, and the interior of the mouth is yellow ; there are also 
two large black spots upon the tongue, which are very conspicuous when the young 
open their mouths for food. Both species leave the nest remarkably early, before 
their feathers have half attained their proper development. The notes of the 
young of both are harsh and dissonant. 

I do not conceive it necessary to enter further into the history of these little 
birds, as might be done at considerable length : should the Fen Reedling occur 
in the vicinity of any reader of this article, he surely will not now fail to detect it. 
I am very desirous of ascertaining, with accuracy, how the migratory land-birds 
are distributed over the country ; a fact which can only be satisfactorily elu- 
cidated by the co-operation of naturalists resident in different parts. At present 
there is a good deal to be learnt on this subject. 

I have termed this species " Fen Reedling," as I think, it is rather more ex- 
pressive of the precise nature of its haunts than Marsh Reedling, which has been 
proposed. The words are, undoubtedly, nearly synonymous, but the latter had 
better be reserved for S. palustris, an allied species, not hitherto found in Britain. 
In the fenny counties of England, and in Holland, the S. arundinacea is an ex- 
ceedingly abundant species, and, according to Mr. Neville Wood, it occurs, in 
this country, as far north as Derbyshire : how far beyond this I wish to deter- 
mine, and have penned the present article in the hope of ascertaining. 



ON THE PAPILIO MACHAON, 

By J. Curtis. 

Of all the various sources of gratification arising from the study of insects, 
none appears to me more interesting than the rearing of them, very especially the 
Lepidoptera, We are enabled at our leisure to investigate and study their won- 
derful economy, and at the same time to obtain the most perfect specimens for 
our cabinets ; thus enhancing the beauty of the collection, and securing perfect 
insects for future description. 



38 

It was my intention to have offered some general remarks on the pupa; or 
chrysalides of that favourite family the Papilionidae ; but I find that, in the present 
number, I must content myself with describing the process of the caterpillar of 
Papilio machaon, in changing to the pupa state. The caterpillar of this truly 
elegant and graceful insect (one of the two species of Papilio which we can alone 
lay claim to as British) having fixed upon a spot where he intends to take up his 
abode for the period of his imprisonment, turns his head on one side, and attaches 
a thread, which he carries over to the other, where he also fastens it, and returns 
again and again, backwards and forwards, until it has acquired a sufficient thick- 
ness to sustain his weight. The caterpillar now, having laid hold with his anal 
feet, is supported by these combined threads, which pass under the junction of the 
thorax and abdomen ; and, by a violent muscular action, the skin of the caterpillar 
bursts at the head, and it is pushed or thrown off like an elastic garment. Hav- 
ing seen this remarkable process accomplished, I was curious to know by what 
means he could fasten the apex of the abdomen to the box ; and, from the obser- 
vations which I was enabled to make, I feel satisfied that it is by ejecting a gluti- 
nous fluid through the pores of the tail, which is the analogue of the anal feet, 
for, the skin being cast off, he placed the apex of his body close to the box, to 
which it instantly adhered. I then detached it, and again it firmly united ; but 
a third trial had probably so exhausted its powers, that it afterwards remained 
suspended by the thoracic chord alone. 



MUSIC OF SNAILS. 



There is a poetical notion that Oysters, amongst other gentle qualities, love 
minstrelsy, and the fishermen, in some parts, 

" Sing, to charm the spirits of the deep," 
as they troll their dredging nets ; for 

" The Herring loves the merry moonlight ; 

The Mackarel loves the wind ; 
But the Oyster loves the dredging song ; — 

For he comes of gentle kind." 

These lines gave rise to a communication from a young lady, which I will 
send you. Perhaps some of your readers may confirm the supposition of the 
Snail's musical capabilities. She says : — " One evening I kneeled upon the win- 
dow seat, when it was nearly dusk, and heard a soft musical sound ; not a hum- 
ming or murmuring, but a truly musical tone. I saw a Snail, and, having a desire 
to annihilate those destroyers of fruit and flowers, took it from the window. 
I had silenced the music ! I recollected what I had heard, and felt a sort of 
pang." S. KENNAWAY. 



NOTICE OF THE REPORTED CAPTURE OF THE COMMON 
GAR-PIKE (Belone vulgaris) IN THE RIVER TAME. 

In the month of April last, I received from Mr. Richard Bird, Surgeon, of 
Tamworth, a fine specimen of the common Gar-pike, said, by the man from whom 
he obtained it, to have been just caught in the River Tame, about two miles 
below Tamworth. That a sea-fish not mentioned, by any Ichthyologist with 
whose writings I am acquainted, as ever frequenting fresh water, should have 
ascended an inland river, to the distance of about one hundred and fifty miles 
from its termination in the ocean, appeared to me a somewhat extraordinary fact : 
and I should have been induced very strongly to suspect the correctness of the 
statement made to Mr. Bird, had not that gentleman, who is a very accurate and 
cautious observer, assured me that the fish exhibited the peculiar silvery lustre, 
and all the other characters of freshness, which indicated that life could not have 
been, many hours, extinct. I have, this day, seen Mr. Bird's informant ; and 
questioned him very closely on the subject. He states that he took the fish, 
given to Mr. Bird, and another, considerably larger, of the same species, with a 
net, in the river Tame, just below Hop was bridge ; that it is the only instance of 
the capture of such fish in fresh water, which has fallen under his observation ; 
but that an old fisherman, of Tamworth, recollects having taken a Gar-pike, about 
twenty years ago, in the river Tame, near Hopwas. 

I shall feel much obliged by the communication, through the medium of The 
Naturalist, of any fact calculated to throw light upon this obscure and, in my 
opinion, still somewhat doubtful statement. That such a fish as the Gar-pike, 
which, however agile and vivacious, is not known to possess the saltatorial powers 
of the Salmon, should have made its way over the numerous weirs existing on the 
course of the Tame and Trent between Hopwas and the point of conflux of the 
latter with the Humber, it is difficult to conceive. A few weeks previously to 
the date of this reported capture, the Trent and its tributary streams had, I may, 
however, observe, been swollen to an unwonted height by the rapidly-dissolving 
snows, and profuse rains, of the early spring. 

I shall conclude my brief notice with a slight outline of the generic and spe- 
cific characters of this curious fish, and an exposition of the site which it occupies 
in the modern systems of Ichthyology. 

The Gar-pike, associated, in the System of Linneus, with the common pike, 
under the title of Esox belone, has, of late, been separated from Esox, and taken 
as the type of a new genus, named Belone, from b$xov*i, the Greek designation of 
the gar-pike. The following are the generic characters of Belone ; as traced by 
Fleming and Yarrell. Muzzle attenuated and greatly prolonged. Intermaxillary 
bones forming the entire margin of the upper jaw. Both jaws furnished with 
minute teeth ; none, on the vomer, palatine bones, or tongue. Along each side 



40 

of the abdomen, a row of carinated scales. Dorsal and anal fins entire. Con- 
tains only one British species, B. vulgaris, the subject of our present sketch: 
which varies, from eighteen inches to two feet, in length ; has the lower jaw con- 
siderably longer than the upper ; dorsal Jin, of 18 rays, situated very far behind ; 
exactly opposed to, in situation, and resembling in figure, the anal, of 21 rays : 
pectoral of 13 rays, small, and attached a little behind the gill-opening : ventral, 
of 7 rays, still smaller, and situated far back. Caudal fin, of 13 rays, and forked. 
Colour : Head, back, and dorsal portion of sides, fine bluish-green. Gill-covers, 
and other parts of the body, of a bright silvery hue. 

The flesh is edible ; and said to resemble, in flavour, that of the Mackarel ; 
but, from the circumstance of the bones acquiring a green colour, when boiled, a 
popular prejudice almost universally exists against its dietetic employment. On 
this account, also, it is sometimes distinguished by the provincial designation of 
Green-bone : at others, as preceding the Mackarel in its annual arrival on the 
coast in April, by that of the Mackarel-guide. 

The ventral fins of the Gar-pike being situated posteriorly to the pectoral, this 
fish has, consistently with the principles of ichthyological arrangement adopted by 
Linneus, been placed in his Order Abdominales, of true or osseous fishes. Cu- 
vier, in his distribution of this Class, constitutes three Orders of Malacoptery- 
gious, or Soft-finned Fishes : of these, the first, or Abdominales, is distinguished 
by the attachment of the ventral posteriorly to the pectoral fins : the Second, 
Sub-brachiales,~— by the insertion of the former below the latter ; and the last, 
Apodes, by the entire absence of ventral fins. Consequently, the Gar-pike be- 
longs to the Order, Malacopterygiens Abdominales, of Cuvier's System ; and, 
as nearly allied to the common Pike, the genus Belone, to which it belongs, is 
included, by British Ichthyologists, in the Esocidce, or Pike-family. This genus, as I 
have before observed, offers only one British species,* — la Belone, of the French, 
— and der hornfisch, of German Naturalists. Figures of the Gar-pike are given 
by Pennant, British Zoology, vol. hi., pi. lxxiv. ; by Donovan, Natural History 
of British Fishes, vol. hi., pi. liv. ; and by Yarrell, History of British Fishes, 
vol. i., p. 391. 

June 30th, 1836. S. P. 

* The species, captured by Mr. Couch, at Polperro, and regarded by him, — See Lin- 
nean Transactions, vol. xiv., p. 85, — as the Esox Brasiliensis, or Little Gar, is probably 
only the young of some other fish : and the Saury, referred, by some Naturalists, to the 
Belone genus, under the title of B. Saurus, has been taken by Lace'pede, to constitute a new 
genus ; and named Scomberesox saurus, by Fleming ; See History of British Animals, v. i„ p. 
184. It is principally distinguished from Belone, by the division of the posterior portions 
of the dorsal and anal fins into several finlets resembling those of the Mackerel: — hence 
the propriety of the generic designation, Scomberesox, or Mackarel-pike ; and by the bi-cari- 
nated abdomen. An admirable figure of the Saury Pike is given, p. 394 of Yarrell's 1st vol. 



THE REDSHANK. 

By B. R. M. 

In my shooting excursions lately, I have not unfrequently met with that very 
pretty and interesting little bird, the Redshank ( Totanus calidris) ; and as my 
observations upon it lead me to conclude its habits and manners to be rather dif- 
ferent from what they are, in general, supposed to be, I send you the result, which 
may, perhaps, be interesting to some of your readers. I confess I was rather 
surprised at first to find the Redshank always in very large flocks, as I had al- 
ways previously considered it and its congeners to be birds of solitary habits ; but 
I have very seldom seen it in this neighbourhood in flocks of less than a dozen, 
frequently amounting even to one hundred and fifty, or two hundred ; and the 
larger the flock the more shy and difficult were the birds of approach. Indeed, 
even in small flocks, it generally contrives to baffle and elude the attempts of the 
sportsman ; as it is always on the look out, and takes wing on the least alarm, or 
the slightest appearance of approaching danger. Towards the beginning of the 
breeding season, they are, however, rather more accessible ; for they do not fly 
very far on being disturbed, but generally alight again a few hundred yards off. 
The breeding season is the only time of the year in which they are not found m 
flocks ; at this period they leave the shores, and disperse themselves over the 
country, in places more suitable for incubation. The tide here, on receding, 
leaves a very large surface of muddy sand exposed ; and this seems to be pecu- 
liarly favourable to birds of this class, and accordingly it is very much frequented 
by the Tringoe, Totani, Numenii, and other birds of this family ; for all these 
obtain their food in the same situations. The Redshank is, I think, most nearly 
allied, in its habits, to the genus Tringa ; and it has the same kind of dipping 
motion, when running on the sands, for which the latter is so remarkable. I was 
very much struck with the curious manner in which they dart their bills into the 
mud or sand, for the purpose of getting at their food. They seem to bury it in 
the sand nearly its whole length, by jumping up, and thus giving it a sort of impetus, 
if I may use the word, by the weight of their bodies pressing it downwards. The 
bill is about an inch and a half long. The legs are delicate, of a deep orange 
colour, and long. 

Dublin, May 10th, 1886. 



VOL. I. 



REVIEWS. 



Recherches Sur les Poissons Fossiles. Par Louis Agassiz. Neuchatel 
(Suisse). Quarto. 

Professor Agassiz, in this elegant and most instructive Monograph on 
Ichthyolites, proposes, after an introduction on the study of fishes, to " exhibit a 
view of the Comparative Anatomy of the organic systems, which may facilitate 
the determination of the fossil species ; a new classification of Fishes, shewing the 
relations which they have with the series of (geological) formations ; the exposi- 
tion of the laws of their succession and development during all the revolutions of 
the terrestrial globe, accompanied by general geological considerations ; and, 
finally, the description of five hundred species no longer existing (except in a 
fossil state), and of which the characters have been determined from the relics 
contained in the earth's strata." 

This is a truly comprehensive plan, — the emanation of an active, enterprizing, 
and profoundly philosophic spirit. As far as we can judge from an examination 
of the First Number (Premiere Livraison) now before us, it has verily been 
worked out with a master's hand. A production more honourable to the talents 
and industry of its author, or more useful and interesting to the Ichthyologist, the 
Comparative Anatomist, and, especially, to the student of Geology, we cannot 
well conceive. 

Of the divers modes in which a book may be reviewed, the Analytical is pecu- 
liarly, and almost exclusively, applicable to those scientific productions which have 
facts, rather than hypotheses, for their foundation. Whenever such productions 
are, either from the expensive form, or from the language, in which they have 
been published, inaccessible or unavailable to the great mass of readers whom 
they are calculated to interest and inform, the motives for the analytical method 
are greatly and obviously strengthened. Such are precisely the conditions of the 
valuable Researches of Professor Agassiz. The work is, moreover, written in a style 
which we, who have long been familiar with the scientific language of the French, 
have at times found it no easy matter to comprehend, or at least render intelligible 
to the English reader. Consequently, it will afford an admirable subject for a 
purely analytical sketch, and for the exhibition of our skill and patience, — if 
such we possess, — in the difficult but useful process of literary evisceration. 

The various new branches or departments of human acquirement demand, as 
they successively arise, new terms for their apt and precise designation. The in- 
fluence of a philosophical language on the character and progress of the Sciences 
is far greater than a superficial view of the subject would lead us to believe. The 



43 

study of fishes in a living or recent state is, with obvious aptitude, called Ichthy- 
ology : for that of fossil fishes, we, at present, possess none but a circuitous and 
consequently inconvenient form of expression. Ichthyolithology,* a term alike con- 
cise and destitute of ambiguity or objection, is so obviously and peculiarly ap- 
posite, that our only wonder is it should have been left for us to indicate or propose. 

The whole work of Professor Agassiz will consist of five volumes, in quarto ; 
and two hundred and fifty folio engravings. One part or number, composed of 
from ten to fifteen sheets of letter-press, and a fasciculus, of about twenty plates, 
is published every four months. The price of these is, in France, twenty-four 
francs. 

The First Number contains three sheets of letter-press of the first volume ; 
six sheets of the second ; two, of the fourth ; and one, of the fifth : the first 
Fasciculus of Engravings, — seven belonging to the first volume ; ten, belonging 
to the second ; and three each, to the fourth and fifth ; — in all, twelve sheets of 
text, and twenty-three engravings. From this unusual and apparently irregular 
method of publication, the ostensible object of which is a pleasing " variety," no 
inconvenience, the Professor asserts, will result : as all his materials have been, 
beforehand, systematically arranged. 

A Preface, and two Chapters, constitute the subject-matter of the first three 
sheets of the First Volume. To an analysis or description of these, our present 
article will be exclusively devoted. The work is dedicated in a style of simple, 
fervid, and affecting eulogy, to the Cuvier of his country, the illustrious Hum- 
boldt. 

Preface. The importance of the study of Ichthyolithology is very great : 
since fossil fishes, which occupy so elevated a rank in the series of organized 
beings, are found without interruption, and sometimes in great abundance, in all 
the terrains de sediment, from the oldest to the most recent formation : and their 
state of preservation is generally such as to allow an examination of all those parts 
which are requisite to decide their classification, and to impart a correct know- 
ledge of their structure. With little trouble, the entire skeleton, and all its fins, 
may be restored : and the scales are, in general, so well preserved as to supply the 
most valuable and unerring characters. 

In the sciences of Zoology, Comparative Anatomy, and Geology, it is highly 
advantageous to* be able to follow, in the Class of Fishes, the changes of organiza- 
tion which have been effected throughout all the revolutions suffered by the globe. 
Of all animals, fishes are those most intimately connected with the accidents of 
water : and, highly elevated, moreover, in the scale of organization, they are far 
better calculated, than any other Class, to furnish clear ideas respecting the revo- 
lutions which have taken place in the vast oceans by which the earth was formerly 

• 'ixfivh a fish ; x'rfot , a stone ; xiyat, a discourse. 
g2 



44 

covered. By the information thus acquired, it is possible to determine whether a 
fish inhabited river, lake, or pond, the open sea, or the shallow waters ; whether 
it lived on the surface, or frequented the great depths. These indications may 
serve to determine divers important circumstances in the formation of rocks. 

Another peculiar advantage resulting from the study of Fossil Fishes is, that 
the examination invariably makes us acquainted with the whole organization, and 
affords a perfect idea of its pristine condition. Such researches must consequently 
lead to results much more satisfactory than the study of the Mollusca, of which 
only the shells have been preserved ; and more general than that of the Mammi- 
fera, the whole skeleton of which is rarely discovered, and that only in the most 
recent strata. The Reptiles, even when more generally known, can scarcely emu- 
late the fishes in importance : since they are of rarer occurrence, and were deve- 
loped at a later period in the series of creations. 

Fossil Fishes differ according to the great geological formations in which they 
are found ; and exhibit, in each, a peculiar character of organization sufficient for 
their determination. They differ the more widely from the fishes of the existing 
period, as they are found in formations of a more ancient date. All the bony 
fishes anterior to the chalk, are referrible to genera, which have no longer repre- 
sentatives in the present world : they are invariably characterized by rhomboidal 
scales covered with enamel. Those of the same formations, which, in the present 
System, would be associated with the Chondropterygii, possess, like the genus 
Cestracio, flattened, dotted, or differently plaited teeth. 

Comparisons thus multiplied, justify, in the opinion of the Professor, an alte- 
ration in the arrangement of Fishes ; which will frequently indicate affinities 
hitherto unknown : and the new classification, which he advocates, is intended to 
expose the whole of the natural relations of fishes with each other, and their suc- 
cession in the series of formations. General geological considerations, moreover, 
drawn from the study of these fossils, will exhibit the connection which exists be- 
tween the organic development of the earth, and that of the different Classes of 
animals. These ideas will be completed by the organic representation of each of 
the great geological periods. 

Great pains have evidently been taken, by Professor Agassiz, in examining 
the various organs of fishes found in a fossil state, and in discovering the charac- 
ters proper for their distribution into families, genera, and species. With this 
view, he has applied himself, in an especial manner, to the study of the skeleton 
of fishes, and to the microscopic inspection of several thousands of scales belong- 
ing to more than two hundred species of different genera and families. 

As regards the publication of the work, the first volume will be devoted to an 
examination of all the general questions. It will contain an Introduction to the 
study of Fossils ; an indication of the sources from which the Professor has 
drawn, in the prosecution of his researches ; and the general anatomy of the 



45 

skeleton of fishes, and of all those parts which may contribute to determine more 
precisely the fossil species. In proposing a new classification of these animals, 
the Professor will comparatively examine, under their zoological relations, all the 
fossil species which have bsen described ; the genera to which they belong, and 
the situation which they should occupy in the Ichthyological System : in fine, he 
will seek to establish the relations of organization which exist between the 
fossil fishes of all the geological formations, and those of the present epoch : and 
exhibit the modifications which this study renders it necessary to introduce into the 
methodical distribution of fishes. 

Each of the four succeeding volumes will contain the description of the fossil 
species of one of the Orders of the Class. The second volume will comprehend 
the Order of the Gano'ides ; the third, that of the Placo'ides ; the fourth, the 
Cteno'ides ; and the fifth and last, the Cy chides, of the Professor's classification. 
All the species will be delineated with great care, and in minute detail ; and be 
accurately compared with the living species which most nearly resemble them ; 
with their skeletons and scales ; and, in fact, with all the parts which may serve to 
convey the most correct idea of them, and to establish most completely their gene- 
ric and specific characters. 

Chapter I. includes " Notices of the Collections of Fossil Fishes which the 
Professor has, himself, examined ; and of the materials which have been placed 
at his disposal for the determination of the species." The long enumeration of 
these Collections is terminated by an indication of those which it is necessary for 
the student to visit, in order to acquire a general knowledge of the fossil fishes of 
the different geological formations. An Appendix to this Chapter is occupied 
by a " Notice of the Collections which the Professor has not seen" In the whole 
of these, he calculates that a sufficient number of new species may be discovered 
to increase, by at least one half, the catalogue of Fossil Fishes already known. 

Chapter II. is devoted to a " Notice of the works which contain documents 
upon Fossil Fishes" Of the two Sections into which it is divided, the first, A. 
comprehends " General Works, or particular Memoirs, which treat exclusively 
of Fossil Fishes: and b. General Works, or particular Memoirs, geolo- 
gical, zoological, or paleontological, containing Chapters, or scattered Notes," 
on the same subject. The work of Columna, De Glossopetris Dissertatio, 4to., 
Romae, 1616, stands at the head of this Catalogue. It is terminated by that of 
the Spaniard, Torrubia, entitled, Aparato para la Historia Natural Espan- 
nola, folio, 1754. 

The lithographic drawings, which accompany this Number, are executed in a 
style of extraordinary neatness and elegance : and, if we may be allowed to judge 
from the few instances in which we have yet had an opportunity of comparing the 
figure with the original, the correctness is not surpassed by the beauty of the 
execution. 



46 

A Manual of British Vertebrate Animals : or Descriptions of all the Animals 
belonging to the Classes Mammalia, Aves, Reptilia, Amphibia, and Pisces, 
which have hitherto been discovered in the British Islands, fyc. By the Rev. 
Leonard Jenyns, M.A., &c. 8vo., pp. 559. Cambridge. 1835. 

In the literature of British Zoology, the want of a work like the present has 
long been felt. The Synopsis, of Dr. Berkenhout, complete and excellent for the 
times in which it appeared, and valuable to those whose hands were destined to 
receive it, has long been out of print : and the information which, even when 
attainable, it is found to convey, is rendered uninteresting, and comparatively 
useless, by the discoveries and the innovations, — if not the improvements, — of 
zoological science in this inquisitive and aspiring age. Berkenhout, in the last 
Edition of his Synopsis, enumerated only fifty-four species of British Mammifera, 
including man : while, in the present work, man, with the domesticated, natu- 
ralized, extinct, and doubtful species excluded, " the number of described Mamma- 
lia amounts to sixty-one." And of the Zoophagous Cetacea, — by far the most 
feebly-executed and unsatisfactory portion of Mr. Jenyns' work,— two or three 
well-defined species which inhabit the seas, and occasionally visit the coasts, of 
Britain, are excluded from the catalogue of the Reverend Author. The whole of 
the British Vertebrated Animals, in fact, described by Berkenhout, amount only 
to four hundred and seventy-two : while the species of the five Classes, acknow- 
ledged as British by the Cambridge Zoologist, " when added together, give five 
hundred and eighty-one as the total number ;" leaving, in favour of the latter, an 
increase of one hundred and nine newly discriminated, or newly discovered, spe- 
cies* of British Mammifera. 

Upon the character and execution of the British Fauna, of Dr. Turton, 
which, with the exception of Pennant's British Zoology, comes next to the Sy- 
nopsis of Berkenhout in order of time, we are unable to pronounce a judgment : a 
copy of it is nowhere to be had. The name and attainments of its author will, 
however, sufficiently vouch for the respectability of the work. But thirty years 
have now nearly elapsed since it was published ; and the value of literary produc- 
tions on the Natural Sciences is far more frequently impaired, than left untouched, 
by the destructive hand of time. The excellencies and defects of the zoological 
labours of Pennant are too well known to require eulogium or exposure here. As 
a work exhibiting far more of a popular than a scientific or synoptical character, 
the British Zoology, indeed, does not legitimately come within the line of our 
literary retrospect. 

Mam. Aves. Rept. Pisces. Total. 

• Berkenhout 54 245 15 158 472 

Fleming 50 264 11 162 487 

Jenyns 61 297 13 210 581 



47 

Far otherwise with the History of British Animals, of Dr. Fleming ; which, 
with all its errors and deficiencies, and after all the unmerited obloquies cast upon 
it, we are bold and stubborn enough to regard,* — yes, and publicly eulogize, — as 
a very meritorious and creditable production. The arrangement is, we are aware, 
confused and highly objectionable, and the characters of many of the genera will 
not stand scrutiny. Still, the specific characters are traced with a clear and mas- 
terly hand : and the History of British Animals has, we are confident, done 
much to facilitate and promote the study of zoological science in this country. 
The total number of British Vertebrata, we may add, enumerated or described 
by Dr. Fleming, amounts to only four hundred and eighty-seven ; leaving a ma- 
jority of ninety-four species for the Catalogue of Mr. Jenyns. (See note, p. 46). 

Lectures on the Vertebrated Animals of the British Islands, published in 
1831, by Dr. Shirley Palmer, next claim our attention. The very easy, popular, 
and even playful style in which this little work is written, would preclude its in- 
troduction into a strictly scientific retrospect ; were it not for the Table of British 
Mammifera by which it is preceded, and the generally accurate and useful 
Synopsis of the various genera and species appended to it in the form of notes. 
In this table, and these notes, Dr. Palmer has enumerated and characterized sixty- 
five species of Mammifera belonging to the British islands. If to these are added 
the ten new species of the Bat-family described by Mr. Jenyns, the Oared Shrew, 
Sorex remifer, and the Bank-Campagnol, Arvicola riparia, first noticed by 
Sowerby and Yarrell, the catalogue of British Mammalia would be swelled to 
seventy-seven, — a number which exceeds, by sixteen, the whole of the vertebrat- 
ed animals specified, by Jenyns, as inhabiting Britain, or frequenting its shores. 
From the period which has elapsed since the appearance of the first Part of Dr. 
Palmer's Lectures, there is little probability that he will now complete them. 

The Manual of Mr. Jenyns, to which we finally and gladly revert, is, with a 
a few trivial exceptions, all that the student of British zoology can wish for, or 
require, in an elementary and synoptical work, — clear, luminous, minute, and, in 
general, extraordinarily accurate. We congratulate the reverend gentleman on the 
ability which he has so conspicuously exhibited in the execution of his arduous 
undertaking. We congratulate the younger naturalists of our country, on the 
acquisition of such a guide in their zoological studies and researches. Greatly 
should we rejoice to see the remaining Classes of animals, — the Invertebrata, — 
of the British Islands, synoptically illustrated by a hand as masterly, and in a 
style as clear, unostentatious and unexpensive, as that of the Rev. Leonard Jenyns. 

* We have, of late, been mightily amused by the freaks of a modern writer on "Mam- 
malogy ;" who, while arranging the Bats under the Order Quadrumana, has the modesty 
to stigmatize the History of British Animals, as a " wretched" production. Does he know 
how his favourite term Mammalogy is constructed ; or what Quadrumana actually means ? 
Has he deigned to peruse the really valuable work which he so unjustly decries ? 



[From the Foreign Scientific Journals], 

Professor Meisner, of Basle, has recently given some account of the pro- 
digious growth of incisor teeth, in some of the Rodentia, which he thus accounts 
for. These teeth, in their normal state, are continually growing in length, slowly 
rising in height from the alveola, in such proportions as become requisite to com- 
pensate for the daily wearing away of their chisel-formed edges. This growth 
not ceasing during life, he remarks that all such teeth are invariably tubular at 
their base ; and that the same effect is produced not only in the incisor teeth, but 
in all others whose roots remain unclosed. In animals — such as the Elephant, 
Babiroussa, Hippopotamus, and Narwal, — where these bony productions serve as 
a defence, the same observation seems fully to apply ; and they sometimes attain 
an enormous length, no given measure having been ascribed to them for the full 
period of their maturity, that depending solely upon the duration of the animal' s 
life. In the molar teeth of Hares, Rabbits, the Beaver, and some other Rodents, 
this fact holds equally good ; but it is not so in the domestic Rat, Mouse^and 
others, in which the alveola is always closed ; he cites the observations of Blimen- 
bach on the monstrous growth of the molar teeth of a Hare, examined b^him, 
and also those of Rudolphi on a similar lusus in an Indian Pig. We have fully 
confirmed these observations by an examination of several extraordinary examples 
of this phenomenon in the matchless Museum of the College of Surgeons. In a 
Rabbit, we observed the incisor teeth to have grown in a spiral form : in a Hare, 
also, in which, from their position, they must have occasioned the animal's death, 
by entering the head, or pressing so firmly upon it, at either side, as to wound 
the flesh and penetrate it. It thus appears clear that a beautiful provision of 
Nature is exhibited in the formation of these teeth ; their continual increase ena- 
bles them to preserve a fine, even, cutting edge, always set to a particular angle 
with each other, so long as they remain truly in opposition ; the motion of gnaw- 
ing or cutting their food, having also the effect of keeping the teeth sharp, by 
means of their constantly slipping over each other. If, however, by any accident 
or malformation of parts, these teeth cease to act against each other, their growth 
still going on, they form a curved line, extending to an indefinite length during 
the animal's life, and occasioning no doubt, in many instances, premature disease 
and death. So perfect is Nature in all her mechanism, that the slightest deviation 
from it, by accident or other causes, produces fatal effects. 



FICEDULA GARRULA. 



ORDER. INSESSORES. FAMILY. SYLVIADjE. 





WHITEBREASTED FAUVET. 



By Edward Blyth, Esq.* 

As the Whitebreasted Fauvet — the Lesser Whitethroat of most of its describ- 
ers — appears to be very little known, even to natualists who have attempted to 
describe it, I shall endeavour to give a full account of its habits, as observed 
in a neighbourhood where it is rather a common bird than otherwise ; and I have 
no doubt some of the readers of The Naturalist will recognize it as a regular 
summer visitant in localities where it has been hitherto unsuspected. 

It arrives in Surrey about the middle, or towards the close, of April, though I 
remember to have once seen its nest, with three eggs, so early as the 23rd of 
that month ; this, however, I consider to be a very unusual occurrence, as some- 
times it is not heard here till the beginning of May. Its coming is always 
announced by its characteristic shrill, shivering cry, often delivered from the 
midst of some tall, thick, hawthorn hedge, or from amid the branches of an elm, 
especially if growing near a ditch. It appears partial to the vicinity of human 
abodes, and is particularly abundant about little hedge-bound cottage gardens, 
where its tiresome and monotonous, but lively, note is perpetually reiterated, and 
becomes irksome from its too frequent repetition. It abounds in most of the 
market gardens near London, and may be discovered even on commons, provided 
there are trees ; but it is never found in open braky localities, or low hedges, 
where there are no trees — the proper habitat of its congener, the Whitethroated 
Fauvet (F. cinerea). In tall and leafy hedges, however, and in shrubberies, it 
occurs very commonly. The Whitebreasted Fauvet is the most lively and energe- 
tic of the British species, and the most restless when in motion. It is also of an ex- 
tremely quarrelsome disposition, and will sometimes very fiercely attack and drive 
away a Whitethroat from the vicinity of its abode. The same pugnacity is displayed 
in a still greater degree in confinement, which renders it necessary to keep it alone, 
to prevent its worrying other birds to death, even though thrice its own size, and 
apparent strength. I have noticed in an aviary a bird of this species successively 

* Communicated by Neville Wood, Esq., author of British Song Birds, &c. 

H 



50 

drive away several of the larger FringiWdce, the large Tit, and many others 
equally, to all appearance, its superiors in combat; but which were, nevertheless, 
quite unable to withstand the spirited attacks of the little Whitebreast. A very 
tame one, that was long in my possession, and which was often suffered to fly 
about the room, would frequently alight on the wires of a cage containing a Robin, 
and, on the latter approaching to defend his castle, the little termagant would 
fight fiercely with him through the wires, and soon compel him to retreat. Phre- 
nologists may look for an ample development of combativeness in this little bird's 
cranium. 

The characteristic activity of the Whitebreasted Fauvet is also very perceptible 
in confinement, and far exceeds that of any of its congeners. This beautiful little 
bird often assumes attitudes peculiarly calculated to shew itself to advantage ; — 
throwing back its head, and at the same time partially expanding its wings and 
tail (the white exterior feathers of which then appearing conspicuous) ; in a mo- 
ment it darts about with such rapidity that the eye can scarcely follow, or performs, 
in quick succession, rapid summersets in the air, throwing itself over backwards, 
and in a variety of fluttering and zig-zag ways. Then, perhaps, after a short time, 
it may be observed with the feathers of the crest and throat erected, and tail more 
or less raised, and often flirted, check, check, checking about, as is an occasional 
habit of all the Fauvets, more especially when they espy an enemy or object of 
distrust, which, in the wild state, they will thus follow for a considerable dis- 
tance along the hedges.* 

In the accompanying representation, I have endeavoured to delineate the bird 
in one of its characteristic attitudes, about to spring up into the air, and vacillate 
it knows not where ; but such positions are, of course, only momentary. 

The Whitebreasted Fauvet is of equally active habits in a state of nature, where, 
instead of dissipating its energy in the performance of summersets,f it may be 
seen, occasionally, fluttering, with strange irregular flight, from tree to tree, or 
winging a circuitous route across a field, ever and anon repeating its monotonous 
ditty as it flies ; but it never rises singing into the air, or hovers warbling, as is ob- 
served in the Whitethroated Fauvet, or in the Dusky Furzelin ( Melizophilus 
fuscu$),% another species closely allied, though ranging in a separate minimum 
division. Indeed, its inward warble is rarely emitted on the wing, except immedi- 
ately before it alights on a bough, as may be also noticed in the Blackcap and 
Garden Fauvets (F. atricapilla and F. hortensis), and in fact in numerous 
other small birds, all of which then continue the strain without stopping, after 
they have settled. 

* All this I know from actual observation, having for many years paid especial atten- 
tion to the highly interesting family of Warblers — N. W. 

f I have, however, noticed these summersets in wild individuals. — N. W. 
X Dart ford Warbler, of the books. 



51 



This inward warble of the Whitebreast is extremely pretty, cheerful, and 
lively, but very low, scarcely audible at a trifling distance. It consists of a variety 
of pleasing chirps, delivered continuously, in a warbling manner, and quite devoid 
of all that harshness which is too prevalent in the song of the Whitethroat. A 
note-like sip, sip, sip,* is often introduced, which will enable the young ornitho- 
logist at once to recognize it. This warble is often repeated for many minutes, 
almost without intermission ; as is also the case with that of the Blackcapt Fauvet, 
its more generally known congener. As in that charming songster, this warble 
commences, when in confinement, in spring, long before the loud notes are ever 
uttered, and it is similarly discontinued, by slow degrees, some time before the 
latter cease to be heard. As the Blackcap, too, almost invariably concludes with 
its loud and cheerful warble, so also does the Whitebreast mostly terminate with its 
loud, shrill, and monotonous shivering cry ; which note not a little resembles the 
reiterated and tiresome chant of the Cirl Bunting. The louder songs of both the 
Blackcap and Whitebreast may be heard, though gradually less and less frequently, 
till the end of July. 

The general habits of the wild Whitebreasted Fauvet approximate very closely 
to those of the Blackcap and Garden Fauvets, and it inhabits very nearly the same 
localities. Authors have described it to frequent exclusively the closest under- 
wood ; " on which account," says Selby, " specimens are only to be obtained with 
difficulty, and by patient watching." But it does not appear that this eminent 
ornithologist was personally much acquainted with the living bird, having, most 
probably, written from the imperfect description of some correspondent. In 
many parts of Surrey, where the species is extremely plentiful, it is as fre- 
quently observed in trees as the Garden Fauvet, and may be often seen, or 
rather heard (but, if watched for, may be seen also), at a considerable height 
from the ground. I have, indeed, more frequently noticed it near the summits 
of high trees than either of its British congeners, and have repeatedly shot 
it from such situations. Moreover, I cannot even admit that it is a particularly 
shy species ; but, on the contrary, it is, from its restlessness, much more fre- 
quently visible, and therefore somewhat easier to procure, than either the Black- 
cap or Garden Fauvets. It may likewise be often seen resting, with its plumage 
puffed, perched conspicuously in the sunshine on some bare branch, where its 
snowy white breast renders it extremely noticeable.f 

* Of course I am aware that consonants never occur in the notes of birds ; at the same 
time, my purpose is sufficiently effected if some idea can be thus conveyed of the parti- 
cular sound to which I allude, and this, I think, may be pretty correctly gleaned from the 
above attempt to spell it. 

+ I must here plead innocent of confounding, in this instance, the subject of the present 
memoir with the Grey Flycatcher ( Musckapa grisola), or the Grove Petty chaps (Sylvia 
sibilans), both of which may be often seen watching for passing insects in similar situations, 



52 

The nest is built in similar situations to that of the Blackcapt Fauvet, but is 
less frequently placed in a fork ; sometimes it occurs in herbage close to the 
ground, and not unfrequently in tall hawthorn or other bushes, at six, eight, or 
even ten feet from the surface, but four or five is more the usual average. In 
construction it somewhat resembles that of the Whitethroated species, but is 
smaller, and more compact, and is invariably more or less lined with small rootlets, 
which is its distinguishing character. The eggs, four or five in number, are 
smaller than those of its British congeners, greenish white, blotched and spotted — 
chiefly at the large end, where the markings often form a zone — with brown and 
dusky ash-colour, the prevalent tints throughout the genus. They are compara- 
tively little liable to variation, and have the spots always larger, and the ground 
colour much clearer, than in those of the Whitethroated Fauvet. The specimens 
figured in the plate represent, very nearly, the extremes of variation. This 
species is also exceedingly shy of having any liberties taken with its cradle, which 
it will forsake on a very trifling occasion. 

The Whitebreasted Fauvet rears at least two, and, I suspect, often three, 
broods in a season, as I know to be the case with the Whitethroat. The young 

their white under parts shewing very conspicuously. So far as I have observed, none of 
the Fauvets have any idea of following an insect upon the wing, however expert they may 
be at capturing them the moment they come within their reach. I have many times, in a 
room, seen the Whitebreast eagerly watch the motions of flying insects, and snap at them 
with almost unerring aim (though sometimes two or three times in quick succession) the 
instant they ventured within the reach of its bill ; but I never knew one to attempt to 
follow them into the air, as is a common habit with the Redstart and Pettychaps genera 
( Phanicura, and Sylvia as now limited). I observe, however, that Mr. Neville Wood, in 
his recently published work on British Song Birds, describes a habit of the Garden Fauvet 
(F. hortensis) which, he says, '' does not appear to have been noticed by any preceding na- 
turalist. And that is, its darting into the air to catch insects, in the same manner as the 
Flycatchers (Muscicapa), often taking its stand on a dahlia stake, watching for its prey, 
darting aloft with inconceivable rapidity, with its bill upwards, catching the fiy with a loud 
snap of the bill, and immediately returning to its station, again and again to renew the 
same process, with similar success. Often as I have observed this interesting manoeuvre, 
especially last summer, I do not remember a single instance in which it missed its prey." 
To these observations are annexed one or two remarks, in order to prove that he had not 
confused the Garden Fauvet with the Grey Flycatcher, a species with which, he assures 
us, he is equally familiar. For my own part, though I would by no means be understood 
to cast a doubt upon the accuracy of Mr. Wood's observations, still I cannot but observe 
that the habit he here mentions is at variance with the whole tenor of what I have 
hitherto noticed concerning the mode of taking insect-prey in this genus ; all the members 
of which (I mean the British species) I have repeatedly seen to act precisely in the man- 
ner I have just detailed of F. garrula. I may add, also, that the individuals in which I 
have noticed this were not dull-spirited, broken-plumaged, victims of mal-treatment, but 
clean and perfect, lively and active, specimens, which the most scrutinizing eye could not 
have distinguished from wild birds. 



are hatched after fourteen days' incubation, and in their nestling plumage nearly 
resemble the adult individuals, their feathers being, however, of looser texture, 
and the colour of the head and back more uniform The upper parts are of a 
brownish-ash colour, darkest about the ear-coverts, (which contrasts strikingly 
with the pure snowy white of the throat), and relieved by a lighter tint around the 
edges of the tertiary wing-feathers, which, however, do not in the least incline to 
mahogany colour, as in the Whitethroat: all the under parts are also white, 
inclining to silvery on the breast and flanks : exterior feathers of the tail whitish ; 
legs and feet dusky lead colour. The adults differ chiefly in the purer grey of 
the feathers on the head, and some of the males have a very faint tinge, or rather 
gloss, of blush, upon the breast, as is more observable in the male Whitethroat.* 
The hue of the iris, also, which is hazel in the younger individuals, becomes of a 
beautiful pure pearly-white as they advance in age. Specimens with white irides 
are, however, comparatively seldom met with.f 

Altogether, this is a bird of different aspect from that of either of its British 
congeners, but is nearly allied to a continental species, called Sylvia passerina by 
M. Temminck, and also to another, the S. subalpina of the same author, \ which 
combines the peculiar structure of the Whitebreasted Fauvet with the dark vinous 
colouring of the Dusky Furzelin. All these little birds (more particularly the 
last-mentioned) are rather more full-looking and puffy of feather about the head 
and throat than the Blackcap and other typical Ficedula ; and in affinities, appear 
to be intermediate between those species with black crowns and party-coloured 
tails, (F. sarda, melanocephala, &c), and that form to which the Whitethroated 
Fauvet of this country belongs, and the continental F. conspicillata ; which latter 
group, again, is connected with the typical species (those with tails of a uniform 
colour, as our F. atricapilla, and F. hortensis ) ', by the intervention of the Euro- 
pean F. orphea, a species common enough in the south of France, and remarkable 
for nidificating in society. § The dusky Furzelin is, in many respects, intermediate 
between the Whitethroated and WTiitebreasted Fauvets, (the Greater and Lesser 
Whitethroats of authors) ; but, nevertheless, possesses other characters of sufficient 

* I remember to have read, in the writings of some French Naturalist, who laboured 
to prove that birds of the same species are much brighter coloured as we proceed south- 
ward, that this faint tinge of rose-colour on the breast of the present specie3 is much finer 
in specimens obtained from Africa. What can be more shallow than such an assertion ? 
since the identical individuals which pass the summer in Europe, retire, after having 
undergone their autumnal moult, to Africa, to spend the winter, and return in the very 
same garb to their summer haunts ! 

•f- I have only seen two with the iris perfectly white, three or four with it partially so. 
Of the former, one was a male, the other a female. 

J Cwn-uca leucopizon of Mr. Gould. 

§ At least, so says Temminck :-_" Niche dans les buissons, souvent plusieurs en un 
merae lieu," &c. 



54 

importance to warrant its being ranked as a separate division, undoubtedly subor- 
dinate, however, in station, to Ficedula, of which it is a modification. In make 
of bill, the species composing the small sub-group of which the Whitebreasted 
Fauvet is typical, are intermediate between the Blackcapt and Whitethroated Fau- 
vets, but approximate rather more to the former — their bills, in fact, differing 
chiefly from those of the Blackcap and Garden Fauvets in being somewhat more 
lengthened and attenuated. The Whitethroat's bill is more a miniature of that of 
the Black Thrush,* (each of which, be it remarked, are the brake birds of their 
respective genera), while this organ in the Blackcapt Fauvet is more in accordance 
with those of the arboreal Thrushes, (the Blackcap being likewise a tree-frequent- 
ing bird). The Dusky Furzelin presents the Whitethroat's bill, only rather more 
elongated and slender, and in general habits, song, nidification,-J- and eggs, ap- 
proaches very nearly to the last-mentioned species, while, in other respects it as 
closely resembles the Whitebreast. Another character of the Dusky Furzelin, 
in accordance with the Whitethroat section of the Fauvets, is the yellowish colour 
of the legs and feet, which in the other Ficedula are of a leaden hue. In all the 
Fauvets, however, the structure of the bill is very different from what we observe 
in the genera Salicaria and Sylvia, which many systematists still confound 
with Ficedula, comprehending all these, and, indeed, many others equally dis- 
tinct, in their vast and incongruous genus Sylvia, now with propriety restricted 
by most modern systematists to a truly sylvan group, the different species of 
Pettychaps, often popularly confused under the one name of " Willow Wren." 
It may be added, that the different species of Fauvet,, even before they have a 
feather, may be told from the other genera just alluded to, by the red colour of 
the interior of the mouth, which in Sylvia is yellow, and in Salicaria either yellow 
or orange. 

The Whitebreasted Fauvet exhibits a habit, in confinement, in common with 
the Dusky Furzelin, which is not observable in any of its British congeners, — 
that of climbing up the wires of its cage by repeated springs ; a trivial particular, 
no doubt, but which is quite worthy of notice in connexion with its other peculiari- 
ties, as tending, together with many similar accordances, to intimate its near affi- 
nity to the last-mentioned species. • 

This same scansorial propensity was likewise observed by White, of Selborne, 
who, in one of his letters to the Hon. Daines Barrington, observes, that " a rare, 
and, I think, a new, little bird frequents my garden, which I have reason to sus- 
pect is the Pettychaps, [Garden Fauvet is intended] : it is common in many 
parts of the kingdom. * * * This bird much resembles the Whitethroat, 

" Blackbird of ordinary colloquy. 

t In this particular differing entirely from Malurus, to which it has been approxi- 
mated. 



55 

but has a more white, or rather silvery, breast and belly ; is restless and active, 
like the Willow Wrens, [genus Sylvia, as now restricted], and hops from bough 
to bough, examining every part for food ;* it also runs [or, I should rather say, 
hops] up the stems of the Crown Imperials, and putting its head into the bells of 
those flowers, sips the liquor which stands in the nectarium of each petal. Some- 
times it feeds on the ground, like the Hedge Dunnock, by hopping about on the 
grass-plots and mown walks." I have myself observed this latter habit, on more 
than one occasion. The other Fauvets are hardly ever seen upon the ground. 

I may mention, among other accordances, observable in the Whitebreasted 
Fauvet and Dusky Furzelin, that both of these little birds emit, on certain emo- 
tions, a very peculiar low rattling note, which I have heard from no other species. 
This is repeated sometimes many times in succession, and in confinement, is almost 
sure to be uttered if any one approach their cage at night with a candle. From 
trivial peculiarities, such as these, we may judge of the true affinities of species. 

The food of the Whitebreasted Fauvet consists of insects and their larvae, 
which it seeks for with much assiduity amid the foliage of trees and bushes. It is 
less eminently frugivorous than the Blackcap and Garden Fauvets, more so than 
the Whitethroated Fauvet. Its depredations, however, are chiefly confined to the 
smaller fruits, — cherries, raspberries, and currants ; later in the season, it devours 
elderberries, apparently feeding almost exclusively upon them. It departs rather 
late, a few stragglers occasionally remaining till the first week in October ; indeed, 
that figured in the plate was shot in the last week of the preceding month, and 
accordingly exhibits the bird just moulted, with its feathers somewhat more neatly 
finished at the edges, than in those specimens which are killed in spring. 

Nearly all birds shed, in the course of the spring and summer, the extreme 
terminal edgings of their feathers, and this by a natural process ; not by their gra- 
dually wearing away, as is the common opinion. Thus, the white spots which 
adorn, in winter, the tertiary wing feathers of the Garden Siskin,-]- / Carduelis 



* It will be observed that this most accurate naturalist does not by any means here 
corroborate the accounts given by Selby, Mudie, Neville Wood, and others, of the hidling 
habits of this species, nor lead one in the least to infer that it is " exclusively an inhabit- 
ant of the closest underwood ;" but that the general tenor of his observations entirely 
bears out, on the contrary, what I have been asserting. If it be worth while quoting 
corroborative testimony, the Hon. and Rev. W. Herbert, in one of his interesting annota- 
tions to "White's Selborne, justly remarks, on this particular passage, that " this bird cer- 
tainly was not the Pettychaps [Garden Fauvet], which has not the manners here de- 
scribed ;" but that " the detail exactly answers to the Blue-grey, or Lesser Whitethroat." 
—p. 304. 

+ For uniformity sake, I thus term the " Goldfinch" of the books ; which latter term 
is however applied, in Yorkshire, to the Yellow Bunting. Hence the necessity of a sys- 
tematical nomenclature. 



56 

elegans), disappear in summer, as if they had been cut out by a pair of scissors.* 
In some future communication, I may perhaps be induced to treat more fully upon 
this subject. 

It may be remarked, that this specimen, killed so late in the year, was by no 
means, as some would otherwise perhaps be inclined to suppose, a weakly young 
bird of a late hatch, too feeble to accompany its fellows at the time of their migra- 
tion ; but its quill-feathers having been changed, (as is intimated by one or two of 
them not having yet attained their development), sufficiently proves that it was 
not a bird of that year, as no member of the dentirostral sub-order of perching 
birds changes its wing-primaries at the first renovation of its clothing plumage. 

In confinement, the Whitebreast is hardy and healthy, and may be kept on 
the food usually given to insectivorous birds, allowing it also, occasionally, a 
little fruit, and insect diet whenever practicable. It mostly recommences singing 
about January ; but does not utter its loud note until about six weeks or two 
months afterwards. 

As to its distribution over the British islands, I believe it to be much more 
general than is commonly imagined, but that it is often most unaccountably over- 
looked, as it was, for a long time, in the southern counties. Mr. Neville Wood 
finds it plentiful in Derbyshire, and Mr. Herbert in the vicinity of Spofforth, in 
Yorkshire ; Mr. Rennie, who, to my certain knowledge, is well acquainted with 
the bird, speaks of having seen it in Ayrshire, and at Musselbourgh Haugh, near 
Edinburgh. According to Temminck, it is diffused over the temperate parts of 
Europe and Asia, but does not spread farther to the north than Sweden, in which 
country Linneus also observed it ; a fact which at least negatively corroborates the 
assertion that it also visits North Britain. 

This bird is the " Lesser Whitethroat" of most ornithological writers, and is 
known in Surrey by the names Nettlecreeper, Grey Whitethroat, and French 
Whitethroat. Frequently, however, the first of these appellations is also applied 
by the peasantry, to the Whitethroated Fauvet, but whenever a distinction is 
made (which is more commonly the case with the nests and eggs), the latter is 
invariably the Whitethroat, and the other the Nettlecreeper. In Mr. Wood's 
recent work on British Song Birds, the subject of the present paper is called the 
" Garrulous Fauvet," though, strictly speaking, it is decidedly less garrulous than 
the Whitethroat. I have, therefore, preferred to designate it by the term white- 
breasted, which name is at least sufficiently exclusive among the British species. 

That there should be a standard and a systematic vernacular nomenclature for 
our native productions, is, I think, very much to be desired. At the same time it 
is of little use altering unless we can improve. Every succeeding writer approxi- 
mates more towards supplying this deficiency, and most of the aquatic birds 

* This, however, only takes place very partially in confinement. 



57 

in Mr. Selby's meritorious British Ornithology are very aptly and euphoniously 
designated. Yet this author is often extremely careless about the names of his 
land birds, though he seems to prefer the appellation " warbler" for the Fauvet 
genus. For my own part, I much object to " warbler" as a generic name at all : 
firstly, from its having been so very extensively applied by writers in quite a tech- 
nical sense ; and secondly, because it appears invidious to term exclusively any 
particular genus of song birds by an appellation of such very general import. 
When, however, we find such a non-exclusive term actually applied to birds that 
do not warble, and by those, too, who profess to reform the nomenclature, it be- 
comes still more inapplicable. Who, for instance, can be expected to adopt 
the name " Hedge Warbler"* for a bird that neither warbles nor habitually fre- 
quents hedges ? Yet such an appellation is proposed, by Mr. Neville Wood, for 
the Sylvia loquax, a species which might be aptly designated the Dark- 
legged Petty chaps ; a name which is not liable to any such objections. Surely we 
ought to discriminate between improvement and alteration, and allow no newly- 
coined names to pass muster which are so very obviously inappropriate. In scien- 
tific nomenclature, the Whitebreast has been variously denominated by different 
authors. It is the Motacilla curruca, and also the M. dermetorum of Linneus ; 
the Curruca garrula of Brisson and Selby; the C. sylviella of Dr. Fleming; it 
is the Sylvia ( Curruca ) curruca of Mr. Jenyns, the S. curruca of Latham 
and Temminck, and also the S. dermetorum of the former. Buffon calls it La 
Fauvette Babillard, and Temminck Becfin babillard; Babillard is also Mr. 
Rennie's name for it, in Montagu's Dictionary. It is the Klapper Grasmiicke 
of the German, Meyer, and the Bianchetto of the Italians. Its more popular 
name among the Germans signifies " Little Miller." 

* A. name, too, which is not in the slightest degree the less objectionable from its having 
been applied, by many writers, to the Accentor modularis. 




VOL. I. 



ON THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN VERTEBRATED AND 
INVERTEBRATED ANIMALS. 

By Robert Mudie. 

The differences between the two grand divisions of the animal kingdom — 
those which have a vertebrated back-bone and internal skeleton on which all their 
organs of motion are inserted, and those which have no such skeleton, but have 
their organs of motion inserted in an external crust, or integument, of some de- 
scription or other — offer many important lessons to the student of nature ; and, in 
as far as the mechanical action of the animals is concerned, they furnish a count- 
less number of examples, the proper understanding of which is very essential in 
the mechanical arts. These are the two grand objects which we ought always to 
have in view when we study nature : because the first is at once the source and 
the gratification of mental inquiry, and the other enables us to turn our know- 
ledge to practical use, in a world where the labours and the enjoyments of society 
must keep pace with each other. 

But though the more solid parts which sustain the immediate organs of mo- 
tion in the vertebrated animals are internal of those organs, and the sustaining 
parts in the invertebrated animals are external, it must not be supposed that the 
two grand divisions are reverses of each other ; for there are in the bodies of all 
animals many other structures than sustaining parts, and muscles to put those 
parts in motion, producing the external actions of the animal, varying according 
to the place which it occupies in the great system of nature. 

There are four other essential systems possessed, in a greater or less degree, 
by animals of all kinds, though their general perfection or development, as it is 
called, and also their relative development in proportion to each other, are exceed- 
ingly varied in the different races. These four systems are, an assimilating sys- 
tem, a circulating system, a breathing system, and a nervous system ; which last 
is understood to be that upon which sensation, the grand characteristic of animals, 
depends, though upon this subject we cannot come to any very positive conclusion. 
The reason is, the animal cannot live without the joint action of all these systems ; 
and the dead animal, though it can shew us the anatomical structure, or number, 
form, and arrangement of the parts of the animal, can tell us nothing whatever 
about life. Hence we know life only as a phenomenon of the compound, and, 
consequently, we cannot refer it to any of the component parts separately from 
the rest. 

We have countless instances of the effect of such unions when we examine 
compound substances, and the elements into which we can resolve them, or by the 
union of which we can reproduce them. Water, for instance, is exceedingly 
refreshing to animals and to plants, when applied to them in substance ; but nei- 



59 

ther the oxygen nor the hydrogen of which water is composed, nor the two applied 
together in mechanical mixture, as a gas, produce this effect in the slightest de- 
gree. Water also boils at 212°, and freezes at 32°, of the common thermometer, 
but neither of its two elements does this. As gases, the ultimate effect of boiling 
has passed upon them in bringing them to that state ; and neither of them can be 
rendered solid, or even liquid, by any degree of cold with which we are ac- 
quainted. Innumerable instances, many of them far more striking than this, will 
occur to every one who has even a very slight acquaintance with chemistry, and 
also to any one who attends to the difference between the properties of mixtures, 
and those of the ingredients of which they are formed. 

The conclusion here is altogether irresistible ; namely, that we cannot attribute 
any one property or phenomenon, of a material compound, to any one ingredient 
of that compound, to the exclusion of the rest. It is in the fact of being com- 
pounded that all the properties of the compound originate, and when the com- 
pound is dissolved all those properties are at an end. 

This illustration is taken from compounds which are not organized, and there- 
fore it is not exactly in point as applied to animals. But still it is the foundation upon 
which our judgment of animals must rest, and, consequently, we must admit 
into the organized and more complicated compound nothing which is inconsistent 
with it. In every part of its system the animal is matter, and therefore it must 
obey the laws of matter, in so far as those laws are not controlled by the power of 
organization in the animal ; which is the fact of animal composition, and not a 
substance which could by possibility have a separate existence, or an existence in 
any other species of animal, or even in any other individual, than merely the one 
which was the immediate subject of the inquiry. 

Such being the case, we must be very careful, and not dogmatically attribute 
any function to any one structure of an animal, or even to any one organ, how 
necessary so ever that organ may be to the exercise of the function. Thus, for in- 
stance, an eye is absolutely necessary to the function of vision ; but still it would 
be most unphilosophical to say that an eye sees ; because, if such were the case, a 
dead eye, if in perfect preservation, ought to see as well as a living one. The 
very same argument applies to every organ in all the other systems. Nothing is 
more common, for instance, than the belief that animals perceive, and are impelled 
to act, by the brain ; and there are not a few who assign different impulses to diffe- 
rent parts of this organ : but were this the case, an uninjured brain, separated 
from the rest of the animal, ought to be as " cogitative" and " volontative" as 
ever. 

But to leave this preliminary caution, which is a most essential one, especially 
to young naturalists, let us return to the organic systems which, in their combina- 
tion, make up the body of an animal, and observe how they are distributed in the 
two grand divisions of vertebrated and invertebrated — or skeletoned and skeleton- 

i2 



60 

less — animals. The three systems of assimilation or nutrition, circulation, and 
respiration, are intimately connected with each other — so much so, that they 
ought, perhaps, to he considered as parts of one compound system, — the vital sys- 
tem, or that hy means of which the body of the animal is originally formed and 
maintained during the period of its life in the exercise of those functions which 
belong to its species. We need not mention that the first part of this compound 
system, in its organization, consists of the whole alimentary passage, together with 
the accessory parts which promote digestion, and those by which the assimilated 
food is conveyed to the blood ; that the second consists of the circulating vessels, 
whether their contents be blood in the arterial or venous state, or any other cir- 
culating liquid ; and that the third part consists of that apparatus by which the 
waste (in most cases apparently the surplus carbon) of the system is conveyed by 
means of air or water to the general mass of inorganic matter. In the greater 
number of animals, whether vertebrated or not, the alimentary, or assimilating, 
part of the system, is internal ; the circulating part is, also, more or less distri- 
buted throughout the whole body ; and the respiratory part is variously placed — 
being internal in the warm-blooded vertebrata, and in many invertebrated animals, 
but more or less external in others. The nervous system is very differently situ- 
ated ; though it is always internal in what may be considered as its most essential 
parts, and more or less ramified through the body in the others. 

In all vertebrated animals, the nervous system is really the central part ; for 
the brain and its spinal elongation, from which the nerves proceed to all parts of 
the body, are always lodged within the vertebral part of the skeleton. In them, 
too, the three parts of what we have described as the vital system, are internal as 
regards the whole mass of the body, but external as regards the spinal column. 
They proceed from the opening of the mouth, and are lodged in cavities of the 
chest and abdomen, suspended upon one side of the vertebral column, and corres- 
pondingly on the same side of it, in all the classes of the grand division ; but 
though they are supported on the spine, they are never contained in the same cavi- 
ty with its essential contents. Of the system of reproduction we do not speak, 
because this is connected with the succession of generations in the animal, and not 
with any one animal considered as an individual. 

In animals of this grand division, therefore, the several parts of the more im- 
portant systems are kept separate from each other, and each enjoys a different 
degree of protection from external injury, and even from injury by the working of 
the mechanical system. The central parts of the nervous system are wholly 
enclosed within the bones of the vertebral column, so that no external injury 
can happen to them, except from the fracture or dislocation of this column ; and 
the processes or projections of the different vertebras are so formed, that disloca- 
tion of the column is next to impossible, by any ordinary strain to which the ani- 
mal can be subjected. The breathing apparatus, and the heart, or centre of 



61 

circulation, are also well protected, and kept separate from each other, and from 
the alimentary or assimilating system ; so that no two of these can interfere with 
each other, unless by such an injury as would be fatal to the animal. Then, as 
the whole of them are within the mechanical system, none of them can receive any 
displacement by the natural action of that system. It is thus evident that, in such 
animals, the greatest care is taken both of the compound system which carries on 
tbe vital functions, and of that which is understood to be more immediately con- 
cerned in the function of sensation. 

It is very different with invertebrated animals, in all their classes, which are 
far more numerous and varied than those of the vertebrated ones. The whole of 
their structures, vital, motive, and sensal, are lodged within the same cavity ; and 
thus, if we except the motive one, which gains from the arrangement some mecha- 
nical advantages afterwards to be noticed, they cannot have the same freedom or 
action as in the vertebrated animals, which have them apart. Accordingly, the 
organs of assimilation, of respiration, and of circulation, are far less perfect than 
they are in the vertebrated animals. No single description can be made applicable 
to all the differences which are found among them ; but it may, in general, be 
stated that there is much less distinctness in the stomach and its auxiliary organs, 
though this is probably the most important part of them, because every animal 
must receive matter for its growth, and also for its nourishment ; consequently, 
this part is the most complete. In the circulation there is no distinct heart, for, 
in many of them at least, the assimilated blood goes directly to the growth or 
nourishment of the parts ; and they are provided with a sort of breathing tubes 
generally distributed through the cavity of the body, which perform the necessary 
process of aeration upon the nourishing fluid in its progress to the different parts. 
The system of sensation is, however, the least perfectly developed of the whole. 
There is not, in any invertebrated animal, any organ which can be positively said 
to be a true brain ; and, generally speaking, the central parts of the nervous sys- 
tem are placed near the system of nourishment, the most conspicuous ganglion, or 
enlargement, being situated on the gullet, and the others in the continuation of 
the cavity of the body. In the orders which are most humble in their organiza- 
tion, the radiata, there are no symmetrical organs, the counterparts of each other 
upon opposite sides, as we find in all vertebrated animals, and in the higher orders 
of the invertebrated ones. The whole proceeds, as it were, from a centre, and, 
in very many instances, almost any point is capable of becoming a centre ; for if 
the body is divided, the parts, in time, become entire animals. 

It should seem, therefore, that the invertebrated animals are founded upon the 
system of assimilation, or nourishment, and that their predominant function is 
that of growth. They all do, indeed, possess sensation in some degree or other, 
higher in one class, and lower in another ; but this part of their general system is 
always very inferior in its structure, and very subordinate in its power, to the 



nourishing and growing portion. Many of them, indeed, have curious instincts, 
and perform labours in which a great deal of what we would call ingenuity, if 
they were the results of contrivance, is displayed. The cells of the bee, the webs 
of the spiders, the nests and covert-ways of the white ants, and a countless num- 
ber of others, might be mentioned in proof of this ; but the animals which per- 
form those curious labours display no more sagacity and resource than the hum- 
blest of the whole. The bee or the spider, for example, does not display more 
sagacity than the common earthworm, which is, perhaps, the most sentient of the 
three ; and yet it has no visible organs of localized senses. This, by the way, is a 
pretty convincing proof that sensation is the result of the organization taken gene- 
rally, and not of any particular part of it ; though there is no doubt that any par- 
ticular modification of sense must be acute in proportion to the perfection of its 
organ. 

The vertebrated animals are as evidently founded upon the nervous system. 
It is the first organic portion which can be traced in the embryo when little else 
than a gelatinous mass ; and in that part of it which may be considered as central, 
and as such productive of the nervous energy, it is everywhere so fenced in and 
protected by bones, as that none of the other systems, and more especially the me- 
chanical system, can in the least interfere with it. In the invertebrated animals 
the case is very different ; the nervous system is, in its central and essential parts, 
mixed up both with the vital and the mechanical system, and it is subservient to 
them. We can easily understand from the structure of man and of the higher 
orders of vertebrated animals, that the nervous system, in order to work to the 
full degree of perfection of which it is susceptible, must work perfectly alone and 
undisturbed ; and though it is impossible for us to say what specific effect this 
system has on the ultimate action of the animal as a whole, yet as that is always 
superior in proportion as the nervous system is developed, we must conclude that 
this system is a most essential part. Another opportunity will be afforded in a 
future number of The Naturalist, for investigating the curious connexion which 
there appears to be between the nervous energy of animals and that general 
energy of matter, whether organized or not, which is known by the several names 
of caloric, electricity, and galvanism, and conversely by the name of magnetism. 
But we may, in the mean time, remark that those animals and parts of animals 
which are capable of the most powerful action, how brief soever may be its dura- 
tion, are also the most susceptible to electric excitement. 

This protection afforded to the centre of the nervous system in the vertebrated 
animals, is obtained at some sacrifice of effect in proportion to exertion in the me- 
chanical system ; and the sacrifice is always the greater the more that the nervous 
system is developed and protected. It is greater in mammalia than in birds ; 
greater in birds than in reptiles ; and greater in reptiles than in fishes : and it is 
greatest of all in the cartilaginous fishes, which, though superior to common fishes 



63 

in some of the humbler parts of their organization, are very inferior in vertebra- 
tion and nervous energy. 

But while the absolute effect of the muscles or mechanical organs of the more 
highly developed animals is less, upon the whole, than that of the lower, there are 
counterbalancing advantages ; for the internal skeleton is, if we may be allowed the 
term, much more disposable, that is, capable of much more varied action in a 
single articulation, than the external crust. We may take the Crustacea and 
Arachnida, of which the common crab and the garden spider may be taken as 
types, as expressive of the highest mechanical structure of invertebrated animals ; 
and we may take the human body, in consequence of the universality of its appli- 
cation, as the most characteristic of the vertebrated ones. In these, if any one 
examines the pincer-claw of the crab in the articulations of its crust, and the 
skeleton of the human arm in the articulations of the bones, he will not fail to be 
struck at the very limited range of motion which the former possesses to that 
possessed by the latter. In the claw, the hard parts which are moved are external 
of the muscles which move them ; and, therefore, if there is an articulation of one 
part of the crust upon another, there must be two centres, and an axis of motion 
passing through those centres. But two points determine, and fix the position of 
a line, so that it cannot by possibility vary, if the points themselves are fixed ; as, 
for instance, a line on the earth's surface, passing through a fixed point at Bir- 
mingham and another at London, would be determined until it girded the earth as 
a great circle, and could not by possibility deviate a single inch to the right hand 
or to the left, even at the remotest distance from those two fixed points. The two 
centres of motion in the articulation of the crusted animal are two fixed points in 
the crust ; and therefore the axis of motion, which must pass through them, can 
have no angular play, and the motion must be confined to one plane, from which 
it cannot deviate a single hair's breadth. Such a joint must act with the most 
perfect precision ; and it will be found that in all the hinge joints of the crab's 
claw there is not the least lateral motion. If, therefore, the limb of an inverte- 
brated animal is jointed by crust articulated upon crust, a great number of joints 
is required, in order to produce even a very limited variety of motion ; and no 
number of joints could produce the variety which the articulations of the human 
arm can communicate to the point of the finger. A more varied motion is ob- 
tained, by uniting the extremities of the two pieces of crust by a certain portion of 
cartilaginous matter, as we find in those joints which unite the crab's claw to the 
body of the animal, and also in the joints of the smaller claws, or walking legs. 
This mode of union, for it is not strictly an articulation, allows of bending in any 
direction, in proportion to the extent and flexibility of the cartilage that joins the 
two portions of crust. This, however, has a limit, and a very narrow one, because 
a very little extent or increased flexibility of the cartilage would render the limb 
so feeble and unsteady that it would not be efficient for any one purpose. Any 



64 

one who reflects upon the subject, and chooses to examine the specimen to which 
we have referred, will see at once that the range of action in the moving parts of 
an animal having the muscles inserted in an external crust or integument must be 
exceedingly limited ; and that, in order to produce even a fraction of the different 
motions of which an animal with an internal skeleton is capable, there must be a 
much greater number both of articulations and of muscles. Accordingly, we find 
that the muscles of a caterpillar exceed by hundreds the muscles of a greyhound 
or an eagle ; and yet its motions are mere crawling as compared with theirs, and 
its body is a thing of no weight in comparison. 

In the human arm, or in any other limb having internal bones, the motion of 
a single joint may command a good deal more than an entire hemisphere, having 
the length of the articulated bone for its radius. This can be done in conse- 
quence of the real centre of motion in the joint of two internal bones being a 
point, which is equally affected to every plane passing through it, and, therefore, 
not tied down to any straight line crossing the direction of the articulated bones 
when they are straight. It is true that we never have in the body of any verte- 
bated animal this extreme variety of motion of which the joint of such an animal 
could be made capable ; because, joints being made for purposes, must, from the 
very nature of the case, have motion in the direction of their purpose, and a ful- 
crum or support for that motion in the opposite direction. This, however, does 
not affect the perfect universality of the principle ; and as motion on a single 
point, as a centre, is not affected by, or confined to, one direction more than ano- 
ther, there is an unlimited basis to the motions of vertebrated animals ; and thus 
a joint can be formed capable of having its best motion in any direction that can 
be imagined. When several such joints are combined, the result is such as would 
stagger the belief of even those who are conversant with common mechanics, if 
they have not thought upon this very subject. Say that the human arm is, for 
instance, two feet in length, (making a little allowance for flexion in some posi- 
tions), and that it can command three-fourths of a sphere of two feet radius, which 
is within the truth, the human finger can, as told to the microscope, divide this 
space to the two-thousandth part of an inch every way ; and as it must pass from 
one of these very proximate points to the other, it may absolutely be said to 
divide this space to infinitude — that is, to a degree of minuteness which we 
cannot express by numbers, and of which, in fact, we can have no conception. 
Add to this, the motion which the shoulder-joint can receive from the action of 
the. rest of the body, and add to this the additional motion given by walking or 
running, or by the use of the feet generally — and the power of the finger in divid- 
ing space becomes an especial wonder, and should lead every one to employ, in 
the most useful manner, an instrument which has no parallel in the catalogue of 
material things. This subject is as long as it is instructive, and our limits are 
already exceeded ; but we may resume it on some future occasion. 



NOTICE OF CUTTINGS IN A DISTRICT OF THE LONDON AND 
BIRMINGHAM RAILWAY, 

BETWEEN 

Castle-Thorp, Northamptonshire, and Bletchley, Buckinghamshire. 
By the Rev. Josiah Bull, Jun., F.G.S. 

During frequent visits to a portion of the London and Birmingham Rail- 
way, some facts have fallen under my observation which have induced me to draw 
up the following notice, although my acquaintance with geology is limited, and I 
have little opportunity of acquiring a practical knowledge of subjects connected 
with it. The opinions I entertain may, consequently, be incorrect, but facts can- 
not be useless, and I therefore willingly make a statement of them. 

The line of railway between Bletchley and Castle-Thorp nearly traverses the 
breadth of the Oxford clay, or rather a stratum of clay, which has been regarded 
as constituting the widest part of that formation south of Huntingdon. There is 
certainly an uniformity in the character of this deposit, throughout its whole 
extent ; but it by no means agrees with the ordinary features of the Oxford clay, 
nor even with that formation in its immediate neighbourhood. Its fossils are dif- 
ferent, and many of them evidently extraneous. It presents, also, other appear- 
ances which shew that this deposit must have originated under circumstances of a 
totally different nature to those which were present during the deposition of that 
formation. 

The first point at which my observations have commenced is Castle-Thorp, 
on the borders of Northamptonshire. At the time I visited this spot, there was 
a cutting of about eighteen feet in depth through the deposit to which I have 
alluded, and the nature of which I shall presently describe. There was also a 
section, of a similar character, about half a mile from this, upon the south side of 
the hill. The line immediately proceeds across the valley of the Ouse, where a 
large viaduct is erecting. Beyond this point, at the north side of the valley, is 
a cutting of considerable depth, through horizontal strata of gravelly sand and 
clay, and boulders of limestone. Here also occur, in a horizontal position, large, 
fiat, tabular masses of limestone, having a yellowish brown exterior, and being 
blue within. A little farther on, the same limestone occurs in a large mass, 
forming a stratum, which dips at a small angle towards the north. This lime- 
-stone is covered by a clay similar to that at Thorp. Beyond this hill is the valley 
of Bradwell Abbey, and the ground rises again towards the village of Loughton. 
Here is a very fine section opposite the church at Loughton, the depth of which 
will not be less than forty feet, when the summit of the hill is reached. The 
depth, at present, is about twenty-eight feet through the same bed of clay ; and I 

VOL. I. K 



66 



am informed by the engineer of the works that the deposit presents a similar cha- 
racter at Bletchley, distant three miles from Loughton, and seven from Thorp. 

I have spoken of a bed of clay which prevails throughout the whole line, with 
the exception of one point, the acclivity to the south of the valley of the Ouse, 
where it is less cleaily denned. Now this stratum, although it occurs in what is 
denominated the Oxford-clay formation, presents characters which clearly prove 
that it has no connection with that deposit. It generally presents an uniform ap- 
pearance, being a hard, dry clay, of a very dark blue colour, occasionally breaking 
down in very large masses. Nodules of chalk, from the size of a pin's head to 
two or three inches in diameter, occur in great numbers, pretty regularly distri- 
buted throughout it. These are always rounded and smooth, and numerous flints 
are associated with them. The most interesting fact, however, is the number and 
variety of the fossils found in this deposit. These consist principally of Ammo- 
nites, of at least from fifteen to twenty species ; numerous specimens of Gryphcea, 
dUitata and incurva, especially the former ; Belemnites, portions of Pentacri- 
nites, several kinds of Terebratula, and specimens of Ostrea and Serpula. I 
have one specimen of Echinus, which is filled with chalk, and, though very much 
worn, exactly retains the appearance of the chalk fossils. Many of the fossils are, 
indeed, worn, others are broken ; the fragments of Ammonites are particularly 
numerous, and are often covered with indurated clay, or limestone, which has 
been worn round and smooth by the action of water. Beds of sand and gravel 
frequently occur through the deposit, and in them are found numerous small spe- 
cimens of Ammonites and univalve shells, most of which are composed of iron 
pyrites. A few saurian vertebrae have also been discovered. 

Now it is very evident that this deposit has little in common with the Oxford 
clay, although traversing the whole breadth of the formation so designated ; for, 
in addition to the peculiar fossils of that deposit, we here find those of the Chalk, 
Lias, and Oolites. The fossils of the Oxford clay, it is well know, are frequently 
much compressed, and, when they are of a delicate structure, preserved with diffi- 
culty. This is especially the case with the Ammonites. Of these, as also of 
Gryphcea dilitata, (a characteristic shell), I have several specimens from New- 
port Pagnel, four miles east of the railway, and from Willan, one mile to the 
south of Newport, where the deposit bears the true character of the Oxford clay. 
Here, also, I have found very beautiful remains of the Ichthyosaurus. The 
fossils, however, in this formation, are generally very few : in this respect forming 
a striking contrast to those discovered in the railway cuttings. 

Without offering any theory upon the subject, there is abundant evidence for 
the following conclusions. That, although supposed to form a part of the Oxford 
clay, the formation I have attempted to describe is of a totally different character ; 
that it is posterior in its deposition to the Chalk formation ; and that its fossils 
have been brought from a distance : and from all the circumstances of the case, 
it seems to be undoubtedly a deposit of diluvial origin. 



67 



Before bringing this notice to a conclusion, I ought not to omit mentioning 
the occurrence of some interesting vegetable remains which have been found in 
the Limestone which I described as forming a stratum to the south of the vale of 
the Ouse. In connection with large specimens of Lignite, are beautiful Ferns and 
coniferous plants. There are many cones in excellent preservation, imbedded in 
the limestone, all of which are about the size of a Brazil nut. The limestone is 
very similar in its character to that of the Forest Marble. It contains but a small 
number of shells, among which are the genera, Terebratula, Mytilus, &c. 

It is unfortunate for geological inquiry, that the sections to which reference 
has been made, and others of a similar kind, are so soon hidden from observation. 
It has, of course, been an object with me to obtain as many specimens as possible 
of the fossils and of the beds in which they occur ; and by these I shall be able 
at any time to confirm the statements I have made. In conclusion, I may be 
allowed to say that I shall sincerely rejoice if these brief observations may stimu- 
late the inquiry and elicit the opinion of those who are far more competent judges 
of the subject than I can pretend to be.* 

Newport Pagnel, March 14, 1836. 

List of Fossils from the London and Birmingham Railway, chiefly from 
the Parish of Loughton, Bucks : 

Ammonites biplex, (with perfect Ammonites Harveyi 

termination) A. Gulielmii 

A. communis A. Humphresianus 

A. triplicatus A. Lamberti 

A. serratus (With three others not figured) 

A. excavatus Nautilus lineatus 

A. spinosus Belemnites vulgaris 

A. omphaloides B. crassus 

A. contractus B. minimus 

A. Turned B. gracilis 

A. Duncani Cidaris ? 

* The above interesting communication was forwarded to us a few months since ; and 
we sincerely hope that its publication may induce some competent geologist to undertake 
an examination of the singular deposit which Mr. Bull has described. Mr. W. H. In- 
wood, the architect, a zealous collector of fossils, has visited the localities alluded to by 
Mr. Bull, and we have had an opportunity of examining, at his residence in Euston 
Square, the specimens obtained by him at the railroad. We were particularly struck with 
the great variety and beautiful preservation of the Ammonites. The fossil cones are par- 
ticularly interesting, and occur in a limestone apparently belonging to some member of 
the oolitic group. — Ed. 

k2 



68 



Spatangus ? Pecten ? 

Modiola elegans Terebratula tetrahedra 

Modiola ? T. trilineata 

Cerithiom ? T ? 

Lucina ? T. ? 

Unio Listeri Serpula ? 

U. ? Gryphoea incurva 

Pectunculus sublavis G. obliquata 

P. ? G. dilitata 

Plagiostoma ? G. bullata 

Nucula ovum Madrepora turbinata 

N. ? Pentacrinites ? 

Pecten lens 



EXPERIMENT ON THE NEST OF A BLACKCAPT FAUVET, 

(FlCEDULA ATRICAPILLA). 

The shy and jealous nature of this species during the period of incubation, is 
well known to almost every tyro in ornithology. Touching the nest, or even 
looking at it, before the eggs are laid, almost invariably causes the birds to desert. 
The following, however, is a curious deviation from this general rule : — On the 
6th of July, I found a Blackcapt Fauvet's nest, without eggs. On the 8th it con- 
tained two eggs, which were warm. I then put a bit of light rotten wood into the 
nest, about the size of one of the eggs. This had been thrown out on the 10th, 
and a third egg was laid. I now inserted a small piece of hard mould, and took 
out one of the eggs ; this was ejected the same day, and a few days afterwards I 
added to the two remaining eggs a pebble, equal in size to one of the eggs, and 
somewhat resembling them in shape and colour. Whether this proved too heavy 
for the birds to move, or whether it was not distinguished from the eggs them- 
selves, I had no means of determining ; but it was never removed. The young 
birds, two in number, were hatched on the 20th. Another remarkable circum- 
stance, is, that the female should only have laid three eggs, Jive being the usual 
number ; and even more than five might reasonably have been expected, as birds 
will frequently continue laying considerably more than the ordinary quantum of 
eggs, if one or more of these be removed before incubation has commenced. 

The nest which furnished the above interesting experiments, was situated at 
the extremity of the branch of a yew tree, in a thick grove — a most unusual 
locality for this bird, and one in which I never before met with it. I have, how- 
ever, lately heard of another similar instance, communicated by a scientific friend 
residing in the south of England. N. W. 



ADAPTATION OF FISHES TO DEPTHS OF WATER. 

Few departments of natural history are more interesting, both in a philosophi- 
cal and in an economical point of view, than the natural history of fishes. They 
live in an element which, exclusive of lakes and rivers, covers seven tenths of the 
surface of our globe ; and they inhabit that element, not merely in the breadth of 
its surface, as mammalia inhabit the land, but they inhabit it to the depth of a 
considerable number of fathoms. In consequence of this great' breadth and depth 
of their pasture, as compared with the pasture of land animals, their numbers, and 
their powers of keeping up those numbers, are correspondingly great. The shoals 
of some of the surface fishes, and also of some of the ground ones — as, for in- 
stance, the common Herring and the Cod, — are numerous beyond all the powers 
of arithmetic ; and their fertility corresponds, for a single individual of the Cod 
produces four millions at a birth, and there are many other species scarcely less 
productive ; while land animals, whether mammalia or birds, are reckoned exceed- 
ingly prolific if they average a dozen, and some of the more important and highly 
developed races have very rarely indeed more than one. 

This vast abundance of the finny tribes and the extensive means of keeping up 
their succession, not only in the individual race, but that the one may supply food 
for the support of the others, give them a great deal of interest in a philosophical 
point of view, by showing us how much we are mistaken when we suppose that 
the waters are the waste places of our globe. There is another consideration : we 
do not need, generally speaking, to cultivate the waters as we cultivate the land ; 
or to breed fishes as we breed land animals. It is true that fresh-water fishes, 
and in some instances salt-water ones also, are bred for domestic purposes ; but 
this is done more for the gratification of luxury than for economical purposes. 

We need hardly mention that, besides the cartilaginous fishes, which approxi- 
mate some of the reptiles in some points of their physiology, there are two distinct 
divisions of true or bony fishes, distinguished from each other by the characters of 
their fins, or swimming organs. These are acanthopterygii, or fishes which have 
the rays of the fins in one continuous piece, more or less flexible, but sometimes 
an absolute spine of bone ; and rnalacopterygii, or fishes which have the rays of 
the fins jointed, and, generally speaking, of a less bony consistency than those in 
the others. 

Both of these grand divisions inhabit, in their different genera, different 
depths of the sea ; but it may be said, that, taking them on the whole, the fishes 
with spinous rays are the most discursive through the waters, and inhabit nearest 
the surface. Those with jointed rays to the fins are more divisible according to 
the grades of depths which they occupy ; and these grades follow pretty closely 
the arrangement of the fins on the under part of the body. In considering the 
mechanical action of a fish, it is distinctly to be understood that the tail is the 



70 

grand organ of motion, and that the muscles which form by far the greater part 
of the bulk of the animal, are so inserted upon the processes of the vertebral 
column as to give to this organ of swimming the greatest energy which it can 
possess consistently with the bulk of the animal. But the tail of a fish has no 
motion except lateral motion, that is striking right and left in the direction of a 
plane, which, in the majority of fishes, passes equally through the centre of the 
back and the centre of the belly ; and this, though it gives motion, and in many 
instances very rapid motion, has no power of ascent or descent in it, because it 
can strike the water neither downwards nor upwards ; and it is by striking the 
water in one direction, that the body of a fish, or any substance immersed in the 
water, is impelled in the opposite direction. The direction of the course of fishes 
thus depends chiefly upon the action of those fins on the under part of the body, 
which answer to the four extremities in the mammalia ; and those which have 
only two such fins — and for that reason are called apodal, or footless — have 
lengthened bodies, and partly direct their motions — which are, generally speaking, 
much slower than those of other fishes — by the contrary flexures of the length- 
ened body, as may be observed in the Eels, which have no distinct and separate 
caudal fin, but have the dorsal and the anal continued over a great portion of 
their length, and meeting each other at the extremity, as one continuous fin. 

In the majority of fishes, however, there are four fins on the under part, and 
the different place of the posterior pair, determines, in a great measure, the mode 
of swimming in the animal, and the depth at which it inhabits the water. There 
is, also, a form of the body correspondent to this position of the fins, and to the 
depth of water at which the fish in general inhabits. If it is a surface fish, the 
body is, generally speaking, compressed in its lateral diameter, and the head is 
rather small, so that the centre of gravity falls nearly in the middle of the length, 
or rather midway between the anterior and the posterior fins on the under part, or, 
as they are called, the pectoral and ventral fins. A fish formed in this manner, is 
adapted more for straight forward motion than for rapid ascent and descent ; and 
such fishes are furnished with dorsal fins, which, as well as the anal fins, are 
generally produced in proportion as the body of the fish is short and compressed 
according to its depth. Of this form we have examples in the Lancet fishes, and 
a number of others, many of which are vegetable feeders, living upon weeds ; 
and others, again, feed upon the small animals which inhabit, in great numbers, 
the floating sea-weed which remains in the great eddies in the tropical seas. 
Such fishes, as they are not predatory upon any other fishes, are very often armed 
with powerful defences against the attacks of these. Those armatures consist of 
hard and sharp spines situated on various parts of the body — near the tail in the 
Lancet fishes, on the gill-lids in others, and in the dorsal fin, or in advance of 
it, in those fishes which inhabit the bottom of the waters, as in the Weever. 
In short, those defensive weapons are always so placed upon the body of the fish 



71 

that they may be used in the readiest manner in the direction from which an 
attack is likely to come. The attack on the Lancet fishes feeding on sea-weed, 
can hardly be made except in the rear, and thus they have their very sharp and 
powerful weapons upon the sides of the tail, not far from the origin of the caudal 
fin. The Weevers, again, and fishes of similar habit, which lie at the bottom of 
the shallows and feed there, have their defensive weapons in the dorsal fin, or 
sometimes on the head ; and they repel their enemies by striking upwards with a 
violent rising motion of the body ; whereas, the surface fishes strike laterally with 
the tail or the side of the head, according to the situation of their defensive weapons. 
It is not understood, however, that any one weapon of this kind with which a fish 
is armed upon any part of the body, is ever used for offensive purposes. Animals, 
in fact, whether they inhabit the land or the water, have never any weapons of 
mere warfare in the way of attack ; their offensive weapons are given them for the 
purpose of obtaining their food; and when this purpose is accomplished, the 
animals repose, and are at peace with all the world. 

Fishes whose habit it is to swim freely through the water without much 
ascending or descending, have always the posterior pair of fins on the under side, 
abdominal, or placed backwards ; though many which have this form are ground 
fishes. It is to be understood, however, that this arrangement of the fins gives 
the fishes more command of the waters, in freedom of range, than those which 
have them differently situated. The Salmon may be taken as a common or 
abridged type of this form of fishes, and it is exceedingly discursive. The Her- 
ring also, and all the herring family have a similar arrangement of the fins ; and 
they too are remarkable for the distance to which they can range. If ascent and 
descent are more the motions of the fish, the second pair of fins on the under part 
are placed forwards ; sometimes immediately under the pectoral fins, and some- 
times in advance of them. By this means the fish has great command over the 
head, in ascending or descending ; and in such fishes the head is usually large in 
proportion, and the mass of the body concentrated on the fore part. The cod 
family are examples of this ; and, though they differ a good deal from each other, 
they may be all considered as ground fishes, or opposite in their habits to the free 
swimmers, which have the second pair of their fins abdominal. Such fishes do 
not inhabit the shallows near the shore, but the banks and the surfaces of the 
rocks out at sea. They are exceedingly numerous in localities suited to them ; 
and in point of numbers, and also in the lightness and wholesomeness of their 
flesh, they are among the most valuable tenants of the deep. The true fishes of 
the shallows, which keep and feed near the ground, are the flounder family, or flat 
fish as they are called ; they are, perhaps, the least discursive of the fishes. There 
is a peculiarity in the structure of their spine which is possessed by no other 
animal. The vertebrae, of what may be considered as the neck, have a twist to the 
right hand in some of the genera, and to the left hand in others ; so that the eyes 



72 

are always situated upon one side of the body, and not one on each side, as is the 
case with all other vertebrated animals. This twist of the cervical vertebrae throws 
the body on its side ; and as the body is much compressed, it has the appearance 
of being broad and flat, whereas in reality it is thin and deep. In its action in the 
water, however, the body is always on the side ; and the one side is like the belly 
of a common fish in the texture of its skin, and the other side like the back of an 
ordinary fish in the same respect. From this position of the body, the motions of 
the spine and caudal fin, in swimming, are up and down, and not right and left, as 
they are in the majority of fishes. The fins upon the two sides also, which may 
be considered as dorsal and anal, are similar to each other in size and form, and 
extend nearly the whole length of the body. The one of these fins is really on 
the back of the flat fish, and the other on the belly ; but in the position in which 
the fish swims they are on the sides, as estimated in the greatest dimension across 
the body. Some of the fishes of this description have the fins on the under side 
formed into a disc or sucker, and others of them have a sucker upon the head, by 
means of which they can adhere to rocks, the bottoms of ships, and other solids. 
The eel family close the list, and though they do not inhabit the extreme depths 
of the ocean, they are more decidedly ground fishes than any of the others ; and 
in cold countries they pass the winter buried in the mud, and in a dormant state. 

R. M. 



SCARCITY OF THE WALL SWIFT (Cypselus murarius). 

Mr. Waterton tells me he has not seen a single Swift in his neighbourhood 
(Walton Hall, near Wakefield) this year, and the Rev. W. T. Bree informs me 
that it is becoming much more scarce in some of the midland counties than 
it was formerly. In a letter dated October 31, 1835, Mr. B. observes — " I often 
hear the remark that ' we have fewer Swallows than usual ;' may not this be 
owing to their wanton destruction ? The Swifts, more especially, appear to me 
to be diminishing everywhere, to my no small regret, as they are charming crea- 
tures to my mind, and I love their harsh scream, perhaps, almost as well as the 
melody of the Brake Nightingale. I was forcibly struck with the comparative 
scarcity of these birds during a tour I made last May through various parts of 
Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Northamptonshire." Mr. Blyth 
also mentions the Swift having become of much less common occurrence of late 
years in Surrey. For my own part, I have found it extremely abundant in Der- 
byshire, and in the part of Yorkshire (Campsall Hall, near Doncaster) in which I 
now reside, during the present year. 

NEVILLE WOOD. 



POLLEN OF FLOWERS. 



On examining the flowers of a species of Amaryllis with the assistance of a 
microscope, I observed that its grains of pollen, which are elliptical, on being im- 
mersed in water, quickly assumed a spherical shape. On watching them, whilst 
under the microscope, until the water in which they were immersed had evaporated, 
I distinctly saw them gradually assume their original elliptical form. The length 
of the grains of pollen being twice their breadth, their external membranous coat- 
ing must possess greater elasticity than could have been anticipated. I afterwards 
applied heat to the dry pollen as it remained on the object-glass of the microscope, 
till some of its grains contracted into irregular shapes. On being again immersed 
in water they still possessed elasticity, generally became spherical, but some 
bluntly elliptical. I then applied heat to them whilst immersed. This experiment 
indicated the existence of a single orifice in each grain, and also that they con- 
tained a portion of free air, the ratification and consequent escape of which occa- 
sioned a minute bubble to rise on each grain of pollen. 

These facts, in themselves, are unimportant, but I have reason to believe that 
you desire both to communicate and elicit information ; and such facts may induce 
attention to the subject by some of your readers who are better qualified, and 
have more leisure, than myself. It may not be amiss just to hint at the extent of 
this field of inquiry. Gleichen, Brongniart, and others, have been travellers 
herein ; and we are told that numerous minute spherical granules have been dis- 
covered within each grain of pollen. The Amaryllis pollen which I examined may 
be considered as large sized, in comparison with that of the generality of flowers ; 
still I find that one hundred and eighty thousand of these, placed regularly in 
rows, would cover but a square inch. How inconceivably small must be the size 
of one individual of those minute granules, if they be numerous in such a 
grain of pollen as I have described I The imagination endeavours, in vain, to 
trace out the comparative dimension of its untangible materiality. I wish The 
Naturalist all possible success, and I shall most probably trouble you with 
other facts, as they happen to come under my observation in this world of 
wonders ; a world, by the bye, which most of us are satisfied to travel through 
blindfolded. 



VOL. I. 



ON THE HABITS OF THE COMMON COOT (Fulica atra, Linn.). 
By Neville Wood, Esq.* 

The Common Coot belongs, according to the quinary system, as developed 
by Vigors, to the fourth order of birds, Grallatores, and to the fourth family, 
Rallidce ; an aberrant group, which has not as yet been divided into the five 
sub-families which it must contain, supposing the arrangement now followed by 
most of our eminent ornithologists to be a natural one. As zoological classifica- 
tion is, however, at present, confessedly in its infancy, it would be a waste of space 
and time to fatigue the readers of The Naturalist with further observations on 
this subject. The specific names, common and atra, are neither of them unobjec- 
tionable, but I am compelled to adopt them until better are proposed. 

The habits of the Coot do not appear to have been very minutely studied by 
British naturalists, although so common a species in almost every part of the 
kingdom ; indeed, its abundance would almost seem to be the cause of this 
neglect. Thus, few birds are more cursorily noticed in most ornithological works 
than the common House Sparrow, and yet, when we more closely examine its 
habits, we find them by no means destitute of interest. 

The Coot is not particularly nice in the choice of its habitats, and is almost 
certain to be found in moist situations ; it abounds, however, much more in some 
localities than in others, and in general prefers large, unsheltered sheets of water, 
of considerable depth, and where the weeds, rushes, &c, are not over luxuriant, 
to the smaller pools, surrounded by woods, and choked up with herbage, which is 
the typically favourite haunt of the Gallinule. The lake which pasess through 
Foston, Derbyshire, is of the latter description, and while its surface literally 
swarms with Gallinules in the evening, scarce a Coot is to be seen ; whilst in the 
beautiful sheet of water behind Sudbury Hall, only two miles from Foston, the 
Coot is extremely plentiful, and the Gallinule comparatively scarce. This lake, 
though by no means destitute of aquatic herbage, is perfectly open, and only a 
very small portion is bordered by trees. It is worthy of remark that the Coot is 
seldom or never seen in the sheltered situations ; while, on the contrary, the Gal- 
linule frequents the secluded spots, only venturing far from the covert towards 
the approach of night. Another remarkable difference in the habits of the Coot 
and the Gallinule is, that the former retires to rest at sunset, while the dusk of 
evening is one of the favourite times for the sports of the latter ; and I have even 
seen several on the water, both summer and winter, many hours after it has 
become dark. In summer its shrill voice is sometimes heard at intervals through- 
out the night, as I have frequently observed when listening to the charming 
melody of the Brake Nightingale. 

* Author of the Ornithologists Text Book, British Song Birds, &c. 



75 

The Coot is not so often met with in wet ditches as the Gallinule, and the 
former is quite as aquatic as any of the duck family (Anatidce). Indeed, so 
partial is it to the water, that, during the many years which I have observed its 
habits, I have rarely seen one on land, and then only for a short time ; while the 
Gallinule is often found at a great distance from any water, on roads, near houses, 
&c. In districts where the Coot abounds, it may be seen in considerable numbers 
in all seasons, on the water during the whole day, either seeking its food on the 
surface of the lake, diving, half- diving, or lazily allowing itself to be wafted by 
the winds and waves on the surface of the pure element, with its head buried be- 
tween its shoulders, in the manner of the Herons (Ardea) and other aquatic 
birds. During the March winds it generally remains in this sulky mood the en- 
tire day ; and I have, at such times, frequently seen more than twenty floating 
and tossing about on the waves, having all the appearance of inanimate bodies but 
for an occasional dart at an insect or fish which had unwarily approached within 
their reach. At these stormy periods they are seldom seen to dive, which at other 
times they do expertly (although rather a clumsy half-diver) ; but no sooner do 
the winds subside and give place to the balmy air of April, than their aquatic 
sports commence in full vigour, and they may be observed frolicing on the water, 
diving beneath, and testifying their joy in a thousand different ways. 

This species cannot be termed gregarious, for although from forty to fifty may 
frequent a single sheet of water, yet each individual keeps perfectly distinct 
throughout the autumn and winter, and even in the breeding season they are not 
very often found in pairs ; this peculiarity has prevented my ascertaining the exact 
time at which they pair, which, however, usually takes place in March, though 
sometimes later, according as the seasons vary. 

The nest is built in a bed of rushes or irises, in an open spot several feet from 
the land, and is never situated, like that of the Gallinule, in a thick tuft of herb- 
age, with a view to concealment, but may be easily discovered at a considerable 
distance. Its composition does not differ from that of the Gallinule, but it is 
larger and flatter. The eggs are of a light chocolate colour, marked with thickly- 
set spots of brown and purple. Their usual number is seven or eight, but I have 
occasionally seen nine, and even ten. The first broods are hatched about the 
middle or towards the end of May, but there is a continual succession of broods 
through the month of June. My observations lead me to believe that the Coot 
has but one brood in the year ; and if two broods are ever raised I should be in- 
clined to consider it rather a rare occurrence. The young quit the nest immedi- 
ately they are hatched, keeping close to their parents until they can manage for 
themselves ; they remain in the immediate neighbourhood of the spot three or four 
days, sleeping in the nest at night, and then disappear. If you approach the 
newly-hatched brood in the day-time they all disperse, diving underneath the water, 
and rising to the surface under cover of the aquatic herbage, and are often con- 

l2 



76 

ducted to a place of safety by the male bird ; whilst the female remains about the 
nest, manifesting as much alarm at your presence as if her brood was actually 
there. 

The young birds have a very grotesque appearance, with black bodies, red 
heads, and white bills ; with yellow down sticking to their heads and necks on first 
quitting the nest. When they are in danger the parents swim anxiously round 
the object of alarm, uttering low chucks, and sometimes a kind of bark ; in pro- 
ducing this latter note the beak is opened as wide as it will permit. The common 
call-note of the Coot is a loud, chucking, mournful note, which may at times be 
heard issuing from a dozen different parts of the lake. I have likewise known it 
emit a noise resembling that of a Fowl before laying. 

In general the Coot is rather a shy bird, but in some places, as at Sudbury, 
they are extremely familiar ; and if you sit down near the edge of the water, and 
remain quiet a short time, they will swim up to reconnoitre you, without the 
slightest indications of alarm : and their peculiar habits and attitudes are then 
studied with ease. When swimming it never flirts up its tail, like the Gallinule, 
but moves its head backwards and forwards, often erecting the feathers of its 
whole body, and setting up its wings in the manner of the Swan. The Coot has 
a heavy body and short wings, and is, therefore, little adapted for flight. When- 
ever it attempts to rise into the air, which is but seldom, the feet are allowed to 
trail in the water, as if it were unwilling to leave its favourite element even for a 
moment. It always preens its feathers in the water, and occasionally tumbles over 
in this element in a most remarkable manner, and apparently with no other view 
than for its own amusement. When it has a nest to guard, it seems entirely to 
lose all shyness and fear of man, and is by no means easily driven off when sitting, 
and will even allow itself to be touched gently with a stick, but with true birdish 
wisdom endeavouring to cover its head. If the female is disturbed the male 
(which, at that season, remains " within call") immediately swims up, and becomes 
so bold as to approach within a few yards of where you are standing. On your 
leaving the place the male generally follows to a considerable distance, as if to 
attract your attention ; while the female slily enters her nest on the other side of 
the patch of herbage in which it is situated. If she is again disturbed she quits 
her nest much less reluctantly than before ; but, however often she may be driven 
off in the course of a single day, I have never known her desert her charge, as so 
frequently happens with the Gallinule. 

When the Coot leaves its nest it never covers the eggs ; and I have often 
been surprised that the eggs and young of this and other aquatic species are 
not more frequently plundered by the Water Rat, with which the aquatic plants 
abound, than appears to be the case ; but after many years close observation 
of these birds I have never discovered, with certainty, that they were molested 
by this quadruped. As the bird often quits its nest for a considerable time, 



77 

frequent opportunities are offered to the depredations of these animals ; but as 
these favourable occasions seem to pass unheeded we may fairly conclude that the 
thievish propensities of which this animal is accused properly belong to another 
species, and one, possibly, of rarer occurrence. That the eggs and young of 
water birds are occasionally devoured by some four-footed animals is undeniable ; 
and I have, probably, erroneously described these and other depredations as apper- 
taining to the Water Rat, in the British Song Birds. I believe Mr. Blyth is of 
opinion that the Water Rat never feeds on any animal matter ; and that gentle- 
man has communicated to me some experiments which certainly go very far to 
prove his opinion. I hope the doubt and obscurity in which this point is involved 
will be satisfactorily cleared up in Mr. Bell's beautiful work on British Quadru- 
peds, now in the course of publication. 

The food of the Coot consists of small fish, and various insects, slugs, &c, 
which it obtains either on the surface of the water, amongst the weeds at the sides 
of lakes and ponds, or by diving. I have occasionally seen it struggling for five 
minutes or more to devour an unusually large fish, but it never desists until its 
object is accomplished. I never tasted the flesh of this bird, but it is probably 
fishy and unpalatable ; at all events its smell is by no means inviting. 

The crown of the head and the bill are of an opaque white, and cause the bird 
to be conspicuous at a very considerable distance. The feathers of the head and 
neck are of a glossy black ; those of the body dusky brown : in swimming the 
tail is usually higher than the head. In the neighbourhood of Campsall, seven 
miles to the north of Doncaster, both the Coot and Gallinule are comparatively 
rare ; a circumstance for which I have not yet been able to account. 



THE GREY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea) A SONG BIRD. 

No author with whom I am acquainted makes any mention of the song of this 
bird, and in the British Song Birds it is stated that, " with regard to vocal 
powers, the Grey Wagtail has no claims on our attention." In this, however, I 
have since discovered that I was mistaken, having heard the song, for the first 
time, about a week ago, in a corn field. The Pied Wagtail is by no means a con- 
stant songster ; the present species is, undoubtedly, even less so ; and perhaps the 
Oatears (Budytes) have no song at all. The notes of this bird are pleasing, but 
cursory, and much resemble those of the Pied Wagtail. 

N. W. 

July 24, 1836. 



CENSUS OF INSECTS. 

Dr. Imhoff, of Basle, has made an estimate of the number of insects now 
known, and such as, in all probability, may yet be discovered. In the first in- 
stance, he establishes a comparison between the number of insects mentioned in 
different faunas — and particularly Stephens' Catalogue of British Insects — with 
the probable number of insects now known, or yet to be found, in Germany. The 
sum total of this comparison gives, according to Stephens, 9,791 for Great 
Britain, and for Germany, according to the Doctor, 14,000 species. 

To arrive at a general result, Dr. Imhoff does not think it advisable to esti- 
mate the number of insects as compared with species of plants, but he has chosen 
reptiles, as a class of animals with which the comparison may more fairly be calcu- 
lated. Admitting, therefore, that in Germany there exist thirty-five or forty 
species of reptiles, and on the surface of the globe 1,500, that is, nearly forty 
times the number ' of those in Germany, the application of this system of compa- 
rison would give for the insect tribes the number of 560,000, being 14,000 multi- 
plied by 40 ; an mount considerably short of the probable number of insects inha- 
biting the world, since at least 2,500, or perhaps more, may be added to Stephens' 
Catalogue. 

To this calculation we add those of some eminent entomologists, in order to 
prove, as far as analogous reasoning goes, that something approximating a pro- 
bable reality may be inferred by taking a medium or averaged computation. 
Linneus, in his Swedish Fauna, 1761, described 1,700 species, and in the 
twelfth edition of the Systema Natural the entire number of these animals, in- 
cluding the Swedish and exotic species, he was then acquainted with, amounted to 
3000. Since his time, however, and more particularly during the last half cen- 
tury, the study of entomology has received such an impetus, that Mr. Leay, in his 
Hor« Entomological, states that there are certainly more than 100,000 annulose 
animals preserved in various cabinets, nearly synonymous with the Linnean insects. 

Dr. Burmeister, whose census of insects is the most recent, takes his point of 
comparison with known plants, by which it will be seen that Dr. Imhoff's calcula- 
tion produces a larger amount of insect creation, though we think even his numbers 
short of the reality. In Germany, Burmeister states there are about 6,000 plants, 
including Cryptogamia, and upwards of 12,000 insects ; thus, if the proportion 
be a constant one, the number of insects known, according to the 60 — 70,000 
described plants, will amount to 120 — 140,000 species ; and if the generally re- 
ceived opinion of modern botanists is adopted, that only about a third of the col- 
lective species of plants is known, the number of species inhabiting the earth 
would amount to 360 — 420,000 species of insects. 

The venerable Kirby, in his calculation of the number of insect species, as- 
sumes that there are, on an average, six species of insects to one phanerogamous 



79 

plant ; and considering that there may be 100,000 species of such plants in the 
world, the number of insects would amount to 600,000. 

In the Royal Entomological Cabinet at Berlin, there are 28,000 species of 
Beetles ; and from the presumed superiority in point of extent of the coleopterous 
order, Burmeister assumes that the actually known amount of insect species, and 
their relative proportions of number, in the different orders, may thus be distri- 
buted in round figures : — 

Coleoptera 36,000 

Lepidoptera 12,000 

Hymenoptera 12,000 

Diptera..... 10,000 

Hemiptera 4,000 

Varia 4,000 



78,000 
Stephens, with his usual accuracy, establishes the following numbers of each 
of the Orders, as regards British species of insects : they must, however, be con- 
siderably increased by the addition of many minute Hymenoptera and Diptera, 
noticed since the publication of his Catalogue: — 

Coleoptera 3,300 

Lepidoptera 1,838 

Hymenoptera 2,054 

Diptera 1,671 

Hemiptera 605 

Varia -. 544 

British species 10,012 

By a parity of reasoning on this distribution, it is manifest that the numerical 
strength of the orders is comparatively far greater than Burmeister calculates : 
we need only illustrate the two first, to arrive at a similar conclusion with regard 
to the others. Stephens makes the Coleoptera not quite twice the number of the 
Lepidoptera, while Burmeister makes the Coleoptera three times more numerous 
than the Lepidoptera. 

That good christian and excellent naturalist, John Ray, (to whose memory 
the equally great Cuvier paid a tribute when he styled him " le premier veritable 
naturaliste pour le regne animal"), says, in his Wisdom of God, — with great cau- 
tion, however, not to overstep the bounds of truth or the modesty of conjecture — 
" supposing, then, there be a thousand several sorts of insects in this island and 
the sea near it, if the same proportion holds between the insects, natives of Eng- 
land and those of the rest of the world, as doth between plants, domestic and exo- 
tic, (that is, I guess, decuple), the species of insects on the whole earth— land and 



80 



water — will amount to 10,000, and I do believe they rather exceed than fall short 
of this sum." Having afterwards discovered a greater number of English moths 
and butterflies, he was induced to imagine the number of British insects might be 
increased to 2,000, making the total number of the insect creation on the globe's 
surface 20,000 — not so many as are now extant of one order in one collection, 
and only twice the number of British species in one catalogue, without the subse- 
quent discoveries. 

Thus, Ray guessed the total amount of insect tribes to be a quarter of those 
now actually known to entomologists of the present day ; and tbis number is 
assumed to be less than an eighth of those supposed to exist in the world. From 
such facts it requires no extraordinary stretch of imagination to conceive what yet 
remains to be discovered in this reign of creation alone, without adding the bound- 
less stars of Nature's other works, of which, in some instances, we know but 
little more, and in others far less. The strides now rapidly making in the study 
of natural history must produce extraordinary results ; but we need only adduce 
the present subject as an instance of how far mankind is distant from the point of 
general knowledge, even of such things as are tangible and meet the eye, without 
embracing a microscopic world of animated beings, not less important in their seve- 
ral functions and purposes, and probably far more numerous in all their classes. 

CD. 



SOME ACCOUNT OF THE LEVEL OF HATFIELD CHASE. 

By the Rev. F. Orpen Morris. 

Journeying from Doncaster in a north-easterly direction, an hour's ride 
will bring you to the border of Lincolnshire, crossing which you will soon reach 
the village of Wroot. Even those who have never before been in Roger Wild- 
rake's " moist county of Lincoln," at this extremity of it, will at once recognize 
its peculiar characteristics, although the traveller on the road from Doncaster will 
have been gradually prepared for the wild and dreary tract of country which will 
here meet his view. I have travelled much, both in England and Ireland, but 
never did I before behold so strange and anomalous a region. The naturalist will 
visit " the Level of Hatfield Chase" with a spirit of inquiry, at least such was my 
case, for I had heard so much of the mystery in which its history is involved that I 
embraced the first opportunity of accompanying a friend who had greatly excited 
my curiosity by his description of the country. The following observations from 
my inspection of this locality are chiefly intended with the view of obtaining fur- 
ther information or corroborating my suppositions on the subject. There are three 



s 



81 

conclusions with respect to this singular district at which it will be necessary to 
arrive with me. First, that the whole of this extensive region has been (at what 
remote period I am unable to say) an extensive and tangled forest ; secondly, that 
it has been completely covered by fresh water ; thirdly, that it has been entirely 
inundated by the sea. The facts from which these conclusions are derived, and 
the manner in which I account for them, are as follow : first, that it has formerly 
been an extensive forest is evident, for everywhere you meet with roots of trees, 
and trunks, and branches ; and you cannot dig below the surface to any depth 
without striking against them. I have no doubt that the village of Wroot derived 
its name from the roots of trees which surround it on every side ; and it is also 
possible that our modern word root may formerly have been thus spelt.* It is 
probable the village was originally partly built with these roots, and even at the 
present day extensive fences are made of this material, both in the open fields and 
in the village. In the less cultivated fields (for the country has been partially en- 
closed sdme years) many trunks of trees project above the surface, while in some 
of the best tilled enclosures there are none at all apparent, in consequence of their 
having fallen under the axe of the husbandman. There is no entire tree re- 
maining above the ground ; the action of the wind and weather, and perhaps 
the necessities of the inhabitants, having long since destroyed every part, except the 
base, and such portions as are under ground. The air being excluded, many roots 
and parts of trunks are left uninjured, and indeed unaltered, save that they have 
become exceedingly dark, indeed almost black in colour, and are harder than any 
modern trees. They make excellent palings, and are sold as such at rather a high 
price, requiring no paint, either for appearance or preservation. The whole face 
of this county is intersected by dykes of different dimensions, crossing each other 
at right angles, at the interval of almost every field. Even with these drains, the 
whole surface has, in past years, been completely covered with water, occasionally 
for three and sometimes six weeks, to the entire destruction of the crops ; but a 
steam engine has been erected for the purpose of emptying the dykes and remedy- 
ing this evil. From the observations I made on inspecting the clearing out of one 
of these dykes, I am led to my second conclusion, namely, that the region has been, 
in past times, covered by fresh water, but whether this was prior to the inundation 
by the sea is more than I can, at present, determine. The men employed in clear- 
ing out this drain dug down to a depth of about eight feet below the surface, and 
two and a half feet below the low water level of the sea. At the greatest depth 
they find the roots or parts of the trunks of trees in an upright position, and 
exactly as they grew. There are some also, as previously mentioned, growing, or 
rather standing, nearer to the present surface, so that the ground must have been 
formerly undulating and uneven, to what heighth or depth we can only ascertain as 

* Root is derived from the Swedish word rot and the Danish rood. — Ed. 

VOL. I. M 



82 

far as has been dug down ; at the lowest depth, however, trunks or roots are found 
so close together as to justify my former supposition as to the thickness of 
the forest; for whilst clearing out the dyke, the whole road was lined with 
the fragments of the trees thrown up. Oak is the prevailing kind of timber, but 
there are also other sorts whose species I cannot ascertain, though birch and alder 
are, I think, among them. With the trees, at even the lowest depth, are found, 
here and there, very many species of shells, not fossilized, but in a recent state ; 
and it is from many of these being land species that we must infer, as I have before 
observed, the inundation of the plain by some river ; Helices, and a great variety 
of other land shells, being found among them. If left on the bank as they are 
thrown up, the atmospheric influence soon destroys them ; but I have several pre- 
served in my collection which are unlike any I have ever seen, and relative to 
which I should be glad to have the opinion of some more able conchologist. In 
other places nuts and acorns are dug up, from various depths, in a perfect state, 
though apt to crumble to pieces after two or three days exposure to the air. The 
present extremely level state of the surface has evidently been brought about by 
the action of water (probably when receding), filling up or smoothing down the 
inequalities which I have before shewn to have existed. The tide is still kept 
from floating the present surface of the country by embankments on the Trent, 
and even at low water it is still above the level where these sea-shells and nuts 
and acorns are found in deepening the dykes, which might probably be discovered 
even still lower, if the soil were cleared away to a sufficient depth. 

It would appear, then, that the question must be asked, whether the sea has 
risen on the eastern coast, since the washing in of these shells ; and also whether it 
must not have ^r^ fallen to allow of the present surface (so much above the for- 
mer deposit left by the sea) becoming high and dry ? It also requires some ex- 
planation to account for the great accumulation of soil, to the depth, as I have 
shewn, of at least eight feet, over every part of the plain ; although this is partly 
accounted for by the upper inequalities of surface filling up the hollows, when sub- 
jected to the washing of so great a body of water. 

With regard to the former of these two suppositions, the sea has certainly, 
even of late years, made great inroads on this eastern coast, and some suppose that 
this is partially accounted for by its gradual rising above its accustomed level, inde- 
pendent of the crumbling nature of some of the cliffs, which leaves them an easy 
prey to the ceaseless dashing of the mighty ocean. With respect to these lands 
having been also formerly covered by the sea, this is abundantly evidenced by 
the numerous species of sea-shells, muscles, and other shells, with which they 
abound. Whether the anomaly of sea-shells being found by the excavators in 
some parts of the Levels at a similar depth to that at which, in other parts, they 
discover acorns and nuts, may be explained by supposing a slight inaccuracy of 
measurement, and that one or the other may lie in a stratum an inch or two more 



83 

elevated — (the mistake as to depth, if any, cannot be greater) — I have not, at 
present, the means of ascertaining. 

There are various theories entertained with regard to this singular region ; 
but the most reasonable supposition appears to be this : that, in the olden times, 
some vast stream must have flowed through these tracts ; that its course, on some 
occasion, must have been impeded by an accumulation of fallen trees, (whether a 
sudden or a gradual accumulation it is now difficult to determine, though probably 
impetuously carried down by some storm and flood) ; its outlet being thus obstruct- 
ed, the natural consequence was the overflowing of the low land in its vicinity ; and 
the water was, in all probability, prevented from running off into the sea again by 
such low eminences as still exist and now are useful to keep out the tide in the Trent 
from forcing its way, in its turn, over the land inside. The deluge of this river 
probably remained for some considerable time, until, at length, some obstruction was 
removed from staying its onward course ; and when it retired it left an accumula- 
tion of soil, such as a river will always bring down, upon the previously levelled 
surface which the action of the sea (u e. on the supposition that the sea was the 
first invader) had already prepared for its reception. Whether it was the sea 
that prepared it thus, as I have supposed, for the overflowing of the river — or the 
overflowing of the river for the irruption of the sea — is more than I can take upon 
me to assert. 

All the substratum of this tract is a very black and rich looking soil, and is no 
doubt an amalgamation of vegetable matter ; but it, as well as the superjacent 
earth, is poor and unproductive ; though, with plenty of manure, when well culti- 
vated, it will produce a very fair average crop. Much of the wood below the 
surface has a thin coating of a bright indigo-blue colour. I am entirely at a loss 
even to guess as to what it can owe its formation. 

The Level of Hatfield Chase, was first drained by a Dutchman, on the plan of 
the dykes used in the low countries of Holland for keeping out the sea. I have 
in my possession some bones of animals, which were dug out of one of these 
dykes, which I have not alluded to, doubting whether, though found at con- 
siderable depth underneath the slough, they might not have sunk gradually into 
it, having been cast in there at some comparatively recent period. One is a large 
thigh-bone, apparently of a horse ; the other, I imagine, the skull of a deer. On 
inspecting the latter again rather more minutely, I discovered, in one of the orifices 
for the arteries, a beautifully perfect shell, nearly hidden in the hollow, but which 
I safely extricated in an entire state. This probably may, in some measure, cor- 
roborate the original supposition, as to their having been deposited coeval with the 
inundation of water. I will only add, that the word Chase signifies a forest, 
which is in favour of my first conclusion, that this tract formerly wore a similar 
appearance to Cranborne Chase, in Dorsetshire, and many others. 

m 2 



ON THE CULTIVATION OF NATURAL HISTORY. 

Mr. Coquand, whose residence and scientific labours in the Pyrenees are so 
well known and so much admired, has opened a gratuitous course of lectures on 
Natural History, at the college of St. Bertrand, under the direction of Mr. Cabal. 
The ardour which his young pupils already begin to exhibit in collecting and 
learning the names of the different natural productions met with in their walks, 
and the emulation which this delightful pursuit imparts to all their other studies, 
sufficiently demonstrates the great utility to be derived from establishing, in every 
public or private seminary, similar elementary courses for young persons. But 
let the heads of these establishments carefully avoid the danger that may arise and 
frustrate all their best and most earnest intentions, if the professor to whom this 
instruction is confided does not avoid all theoretical considerations of me- 
thod and of classification, which, at the outset, would inspire repugnance, disgust 
them from a study apparently surrounded with insurmountable difficulties, and 
make a laborious task of that which may be rendered a mental relaxation for the 
young or old. Let him, on the contrary, confine himself to instructing his pupils 
in the technical and common names of the objects they meet with — let him point 
out the strong indications nature always furnishes, more or less distinctly, of her 
own undeviating system — let him, so far as he can, at the same time furnish his 
scholars with the most familiar facts regarding the uses and applications of natural 
objects to domestic economy, the arts, &c. Let him point out, as a constant guide, 
the natural affinities of creation, so as to enable the young student to approximate 
and class together, from his own ideas, the genera and families of animated crea- 
tion — let him describe the cheapest and simplest method of forming an infant 
Hortus siccus, of displaying and preserving the first capture in entomology, or 
arranging the pupil's geological specimens ; and this study will soon present daily 
increasing charms, more fascinating, more varied, than any other of their juvenile 
pleasures : they will imperceptibly acquire that love of observation — of order — of 
research — and above all, when properly directed, that reverence of the great archi- 
tect of nature — which will influence their future lives, affording them a source of 
consolation and mental enjoyment in the midst of the anxious cares of life, and 
their relative future positions in civilized society ; it will also, at an early period 
of life, prevent the fatal consequences of idleness or ill-spent leisure, but too fre- 
quently, morally and physically, exhibited in large schools. 

These remarks may not, probably, be considered novel ; but why has no atten- 
tion been paid to them ? Eminent men concur in advising such a step. The 
system of present education fully sanctions the introduction of the study of Natural 
History, as being instructive to the youngest person ; yet no measures are generally 
taken to promote it in our juvenile schools or colleges, where, if it is adopted, it 
is only recommended to pupils of a certain age, whose advance in learning has 



85 

already developed well-defined propensities, too late to be checked if bad ones, too 
confirmed to be guided into another channel, and most frequently derived from 
any other source than that every day presented by nature's inexhaustible store- 
house. It is also true that, with boys somewhat advanced, they, to a certain ex- 
tent, disdain the first principles of natural science, as only worthy their junior's at- 
tention : they would, as it were, acquire natural history per saltum, and begin 
where they should end, in forming or embracing a particular system. It is, there- 
fore, with the younger classes that a study of this nature is most likely to pro- 
duce beneficial results, a lasting moral impression, and obviate infallibly many 
vicious propensities or opinions so much to be deplored in youth, so difficult to 
correct in after years. The present time is most fruitful in elementary works for 
the instruction of youth, but they are all founded on subjects too difficult to ac- 
quire without making a labour of that which may be learned without fatigue in the 
book of nature ; and there are always opportunities afforded to do so, without the 
study wearing the appearance of a task. It has been urged tbat, with children, 
some branches of Natural History could not be taught, as it involves a degree of 
cruelty incompatible with the benefit attempted to be imparted ; and the child who, 
in infancy, could deliberately pin a butterfly to a piece of cork, might, at a more 
advanced age, feel disposed, with the same sang froid, to stab a fellow creature. 
Bad, indeed, must be the instruction that could lead to such a conclusion — to such 
a perversion of the first principles of humanity. Let every species of philosophi- 
cal cruelty be avoided, as it readily may be ; confine the pupil's study to such ob- 
jects as present a vegetable existence, or are merely of inorganic formation, leaving 
to the result of time the peculiar taste that may arise for the investigation of other 
portions of creation when the mind is capable of acquiring information at the 
smallest sacrifice of humanity, and when such knowledge may conduce to the ge- 
neral benefit of mankind rather than to the peculiar gratification of any one's 

individual taste. 

C. D. 



UNUSUAL LOCALITY FOR THE NEST OF THE COMMON 
GALLINULE (Gallinula chloropus). 

I have seen the nest of this bird situated in the upper branches of a middle- 
sized Portugal laurel, overhanging the water, and at several feet from its surface. 
I had previously met with more than one instance where it was built in bushes, 
but never before at so considerable a height from the ground. It would have 
been interesting to have observed the manner in which the newly-fledged young 
were conveyed from the nest ; but this, unfortunately, I had not an opportunity of 
doing. — -N. W. 



REVIEWS. 



Transactions of the Geological Society of Pennsylvania. Vol. I., Part 2. 
Philadelphia : James Kay and Brother. 

Our brethren across the Atlantic, with that shrewdness and foresight which 
enters largely into their national character, are wisely anticipating the advantages 
which, as a flourishing commercial people, they will derive from an intimate 
acquaintance with the geological history of their own country. In many of the 
United States, geological surveys are going forward, encouraged by the immediate 
sanction, or even active co-operation of the legislature ; and judging from what 
has already been effected, the completion of these important undertakings will not 
be retarded by any lack of spirit and energy on the part of the government, or 
from a want of competency among those who have volunteered their services in 
the cause. Three or four years hence, and a considerable portion of the new world 
will be before us with its geological relations familiarly laid down in colours, or as 
minutely detailed in black and white, as are now (thanks to the industry and per- 
severance of British geologists) those of our own island. 

There is something at first almost startling to the imagination, in contemplat- 
ing a task so arduous as that of working out the geological features of the vast 
continent of North America. Difficult, however, as the attempt may appear, the 
undertaking is not one beset with insurmountable obstacles. The ground, it is 
true, may be untrodden, but he who ventures to explore it is not without a beacon 
to direct his steps. The American geologist has a course of investigation before 
him, in which the modus operandi is already determined. On entering the field of 
inquiry, a track that has been beaten elsewhere points out to him the line of 
research which he must adopt. The rocks in this country will be, as it were, the 
stepping-stones to the mountain-ranges in his own ; and while traversing the deep 
ravines and boundless plains of that extensive region, he will not be unmindful of 
the benefits conferred on science through the patient industry and unflinching 
zeal which animated Smith, or fail to appreciate the true spirit of philosophy 
which prompted the labours of Coneybeare or Greenhough. 

The work now before us is the second part of the first volume of transactions, 
published by the Geological Society of Pennsylvania : a Society established in 
1832, at that time consisting of only seven individuals, but which now enrolls on 
its list of supporters more than 200 resident or corresponding members. 

It is with feelings of the most lively interest that we observe the name of 
our countryman, Richard Cowling Taylor, as one of the leading contributors to 
the present volume. Six years have now elapsed since this enterprising geologist 



87 

quitted England for America, carrying with him that indefatigable ardour in the 
promotion of scientific objects which, being united to the happiest qualifications 
for the services on which he was engaged, could hardly fail to rouse a spirit of 
philosophical research among those into whose society he might be thrown. The 
name of Featherstonehaugh is as well known for his enthusiasm in the cause of 
science, as for the possession of talents which enable him to exert that enthusiasm 
so powerfully in her behalf. He has been one of those most actively engaged in 
geological surveys in several of the States, and the result of some portion of his 
labours has been laid before the public at the express desire of the American 
government. The following passage is from the pen of Mr. F. He is describing 
the travertin deposited by the waters in the valley of Sweet Springs, Alleghany 
county, Virginia, and proceeds to relate a highly interesting phenomenon connect- 
ed with them : — 

" I was one day returning to my cabin with some specimens of this travertin, 
when I met Mr. Rogers, the landlord of the establishment at the Sweet Springs, 
an old inhabitant of this part of the country and a very intelligent and worthy 
person. He assured me that, some years ago, when hunting deer in the hills, he 
had seen some rocks exactly resembling them. As he is a man of very good 
judgment, I proposed to him to accompany me there, and he cheerfully consented. 
Mounting his horse and accompanied by myself on foot, we went about six miles 
in a north direction ; but so many years had elapsed since he had casually ob- 
served the place, and the deep dells and hills, clothed with their everlasting woods, 
resembled each other so much, that we passed an entire morning wandering about, 
climbing one hill and descending another, till I began to think he had been mis- 
taken, and told him so ; but he proposed trying another hill side called Snake 
Run Mountain, and there I followed him. Being in advance of me, I heard him 
holloa, and I immediately knew that the game was found. He approached me 
holding in his hand a piece of very ancient travertin, which I recognized at once ; 
and leading me to the brow of a hill, at least three hundred and fifty feet above 
the level of the Sweet Spring, I saw, to my great surprise, a huge mural escarpe- 
ment of travertin, skirting the brow of the hill, with the weather-worn remains of 
old stalactites ; whilst the body of the rock resembled, in every particular, the 
recent one at the cascade, abounding in large pipes of calcareous matter, which 
had formerly enclosed logs and branches of wood. The pendant stalactites con- 
sisted of concentric circles ; and there was the complete evidence that a stream of 
mineral water of great breadth, containing carbonate of lime, had, for a great 
length of time, passed over this brow, and formed the rock. The surface of the 
rock, in many parts, was interspersed with what are vulgarly called pot-holes, 
being circular perforations made in rocks by pieces of rock and gravel, kept 
whirling in them by streams of water similar to those which I have seen at the 
summit of the lofty hills of Lake George, in the State of New York. This Snake 



88 

Run Mountain stood, as I found by compass, N. N. E. by E. from tbe Sweet 
Springs ; and Peter's Mountain, of which I could get a peep through the trees, 
bore east of the place where I stood. 

" Here was an extraordinary phenomenon ! an immense deposit of travertin, 
lying three hundred and fifty feet above the level of the spring from which it 
probably was derived. It seems to be susceptible of no other explanation than that 
the level of the valley was, at some remote period, much higher than it is now, 
and that the springs were, at least, at this level. The Snake Run Mountain is a 
large limestone outlier from Peter's Mountain, such as are constantly found in the 
valleys. Before these were scooped out by the retiring currents, it is probable 
that the whole surface of this now deeply-sulcated region was continuous, and that 
the springs issued from the bottom of the ocean. When the valleys were swept 
out, these knobs, hills, and spurs, being hard, compact, transition limestone, re- 
sisted, and were left ; whilst the conglomerates, shales, and sandstones, were car- 
ried away : since that period the softer parts of the formations, occupying that 
part of the valley where the springs now are, have been gradually worn down, and 
a new direction given to the stream ; whilst the old travertin remains a monument 
of the ancient level, and one of the strong geological proofs of the process of 
denudation." 

A considerable portion of the communications now under consideration relate 
to subjects more or less connected with the mineral resources of some parts of the 
United States, and which, though of the highest importance, naturally possess a 
more local interest than other parts of the volume. The contributions relating 
to organic remains contain some new and valuable information ; but the limits of 
our present article will not admit of extending our analysis to them, and we must 
therefore refer our readers for points connected with their history to the work 
itself. 

There is certainly one subject upon which we cannot help expressing our 
regret, and that is, that the present volume should be so destitute of information 
upon the tertiary geology of America. With the exception of a short notice, by 
Mr. Conrad, upon a portion of the Atlantic tertiary region, we find no allusion 
whatever to the supra-cretaceous deposits, which are so largely developed in some 
parts of the United States. The important results which have attended the exa- 
mination of the beds above the chalk in England and the adjoining continent ; the 
wide field which has been opened for theoretical inquiry into the causes of pheno- 
mena which are there presented to us ; and the connection existing between the 
newest rocks of this period and those deposits which are accumulating from the 
operation of agents now in activity, give a degree of interest to facts bearing upon 
the history of that epoch which does not attach itself to any other department of 
geological investigation. 

We are not, it is true, entirely without sources of information upon the ter- 



89 

tiary formations in America. Mr. Rogers's report recently laid before the British 
Association for the Advancement of Science, gives a general outline of their ex- 
tent, besides furnishing much valuable matter respecting them. No one, we pre- 
sume, will dispute the talent and ability which he has displayed in the execution of 
the task, but he has performed it under a conviction of the soundness of the new 
principle in the arrangement of tertiary strata. He can infer, with precision, the 
exact comparative age of a deposit by comparing its fossil shells with existing spe- 
cies ! If we may hazard an opinion with reference to this subject, it would be 
that the new principle, however beautiful in theory, or apparently simple in appli- 
cation, as it at present stands, is as much a stumbling-block on the one hand as it 
may be an assistance on the other. Mr. Conrad, it would appear, does not always 
see his way so clearly as could be wished in making out his formations upon the 
new system ; the per centages do not always tell up exactly as they ought. At 
page 340 he observes, " I have rather too hastily supposed that the equivalent of 
Mr. Lyell's miocene period occurred in this country ; but I am now convinced 
that all above the eocene may more properly be termed older and newer pliocene. 
There is no gradual transition from the older to the newer tertiary, but so vast 
has been the change in the period of time which elapsed between them that a 
single species of testacea has alone survived it ; besides, so many recent species of 
the Atlantic coast of North America occur in every deposit of the tertiary above 
the eocene, that although the amount varies considerably in different localities, 
from fifteen to thirty per cent., yet I believe the discrepancy to have been caused 
by different depths of water, or peculiarity of situation, not difference of time in 
which the species existed. These remarks, however, do not apply to those depo- 
sits which are composed almost exclusively of existing species ; they are certainly 
entitled to the appellation of newer pliocene, and occur chiefly in Maryland, North 
Carolina, and South Carolina." 

We cannot help wishing that Mr. Conrad had been a little more explicit in his 
observation respecting the variation in the per centage of extinct fossil shells. As 
the passage now stands it is involved in considerable obscurity. Every one must 
be aware that in order to ascertain what proportion of fossil mollusca are identical 
with existing forms in any one deposit, the comparison is made with species from 
all depths and situations. The explanation given by Mr. Conrad is only applica- 
ble upon the supposition that the recent types to which the fossil ones are referred 
are exclusively littoral, or have all existed under similar physical conditions. 
Then, indeed, we might reasonably infer that, in our examination of a fossiliferous 
deposit, those localities would furnish us with the greatest number of recent spe- 
cies in which the conditions which formerly existed most closely resembled those 
from whence the living testacea had been obtained, and vice versa. 

If Mr. Conrad can bring forward evidence proving that deposits of the same 
geological age exhibit a variation of fifteen per cent, in the number of extinct spe- 
VOL. I. n 



90 

cies which they contain, he will undoubtedly have established a limit of error to 
that amount in the application of the new principle. 

It may, perhaps, be urged that, in the present instance, no serious error could 
have arisen from the application of the new principle, because fifteen per cent, 
forms the maximum of variation ; there being every intermediate degree from one 
to that number. This consideration, however, does not at all modify the bearing 
of Mr. Conrad's statement, with reference to the per centage test ; because 
those localities which have furnished the intermediate proportions, and so connect- 
ed the whole together, might have been destroyed by denudation, or might not 
have been accessible. Had this (which is by no means an unreasonable surmise) 
been the case, part of what Mr. Conrad now considers older pliocene would, 
under those circumstances, have been miocene. 

We are rather surprised that Mr. Taylor should not have directed his atten- 
tion to the tertiary formations in America. The Transactions of the Geological 
Society of London, and the pages of the Philosophical Magazine, bear ample 
proofs of the interest which he felt in those of England. It is true that, at Phila- 
delphia, he is not exactly in the tertiary district ; but fifty or a hundred miles are 
nothing in America, and even the crag at Bramerton, the favourite resort of 
cabinet collectors, will not bear competition with the bank of the Potomac. 

We must not draw our observations to a close, without adverting to the valu- 
able paper, by Dr. Harlan, on the remains of the Basilosaurus. As the descrip- 
tion of this animal is before the public in another form,* we shall only allude to 
its prodigious length, which far exceeds that of any other saurian. 

" We understand from Mr. Conrad, that he was informed by Mr. Creagh, 
that on his first settlement in that portion of the country, a train of vertebrse 
belonging to this animal was observed on the surface of this rock extending in a 
line much over 100 feet in length. This statement agrees with that made by 
Judge Bree ; 150 feet in length being attributed by him to the Arkansa skeleton." 
—p. 350. 

Had the Basilosaurus been discovered anywhere but in America, we should 
have thought the above statement exaggerated ; but we are already familiar with 
the history of the great Sea Serpent, to which reptile we should, a priori, imagine 
it to be allied. 

We wonder what Mr. Hawkins, of saurian notoriety would say to this monster 
of the "pre-Adamite epoch." He compares some of his specimens to Moloch, 
Satan, and Abaddon ;f but they surely must yield the palm now. 

One more extract and we have done ; it is from the Miscellaneous Intelli- 
gence : — 

* Dr. H. has published this paper, with many others, in a separate volume Ed. 

-f- Memoirs of Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri, by Thomas Hawkins, F.G.S., &c, &c, &c. 



91 



" We insert the following letter, which has just been received from Dr. John- 
son, of Louisville, Kentucky, without further comment, at present, than merely 
observing that we place entire confidence in the author's statements, whose obser- 
vations were made on the spot. Specimens of the substance in question have been 
placed in the cabinet of the Geological Society in Pennsylvania, and in the private 
collections of Messrs. Taylor, Harlan, and Wetherill. It is the intention of Mr. 
W. to analyze these grains, which appear, in some instances, to display, when 
fractured, a shining surface. Exposed to the blow-pipe, they are reduced to a fine 
white ash, and yield neither smoke nor flame. The grains represent the true In- 
dian variety of corn. 

" Louisville, July, 1835. 

"My dear Sir, — I now send you, by Mr. Frazer, the fossilized corn of which 
I spoke when I last saw you. It is found in the alluvial bank of the Ohio River, 
about twenty-five miles below Wheeling, both above and below the mouth of Fish 
Creek, and extending up the creek some distance, and four or five miles on the 
Ohio ; it may extend farther, but it shews itself only that distance by the washing 
of the river against the bank. The stratum is generally from eight to ten inches 
thick, and from five to six feet below the surface, and contains nothing but the 
corn grains closely impacted together with the black dust which you perceive 
among the corn, filling up the interstices. No cob or stock of the corn has ever 
been found with the grains. The same stratum has been met with in places 
distant from this, in digging below the surface. This is all that I could 
learn relative to this unaccountable and interesting deposition. Why or how did 
the corn get from the cob ? It certainly must have been charred, or it would not 
have been thus preserved. It could not have been reduced to this black cinder, 
like the loaves of bread and grains, of different kinds, found at Pompeii, or rather 
it could not have resulted from a like cause. I do believe if all the corn raised 
on the Ohio, and all its tributaries above this point, were collected in one mass, it 
would not amount to one-tenth of this deposition. 

" Most truly your's, 

" R. Harlan, M.D." « J. C. Johnson. 

There is a disposition in England to give credit to our fellow labourers in 
America for occasionally making " mountains of mole-hills" in their investigation 
of natural phenomena. This credulity on our part is certainly not without foun- 
dation, and until we are fully satisfied that the causes in which it has originated 
no longer exist, all relations emanating from the new world which border upon 
the marvellous will be received here with some degree of scepticism, unless sup- 
ported by evidence of a most explicit and unexceptionable character. As an illus- 
tration of the very limited insight into some branches of natural science which 
its cultivators possessed on that continent, even within a comparatively recent pe- 
riod, we would refer our readers to a catalogue published a few years since, of the 

n2 



92 

objects contained in the Museum of Natural History, at the Lyceum, New York. 
This catalogue is drawn up by one of the leading members of that institution, and, 
as an indication of his competency for the task, we find ten or twelve honorary titles 
and three or four et cetera s attached to his name. The writer, after giving a list of 
numerous Buccinums, Venuses, Turbos, vertebra? and teeth of sea-serpents, &c, 
notices a flint-stone from England containing two Echinites, one of which is "fast 
in its hole," while the other, mirabile dictu, " can be made to revolve upon its 
own a.vis /" This remarkable phenomenon appears to have amazingly puzzled 
the learned compiler of the catalogue, who does not presume to attempt any solu- 
tion of the problem. 

With regard to the statement respecting the fossil corn, we are by no means 
disposed to question its authenticity, notwithstanding the apparently anomalous 
conditions attending its deposition. These, perhaps, may be explained when a 
more minute investigation has been made of the locality in which this singular 
stratum has been discovered. The only instance at all analogous to the present, 
with which we are acquainted, is the prodigious accumulation of fruits and seeds in 
the London clay of the Isle of Sheppy. It is not at all beyond the limits of pro- 
bability to imagine that, under some circumstances, the clay might, by aqueous 
agency, be removed, and a continuous stratum of seeds left. We are, however, 
unwilling to enlarge upon so novel a fact as that related by Mr. Johnson until we 
have all the circumstances connected with its history before us. 

In closing the present volume we cannot help expressing the gratification we 
have derived from its perusal, and the sincere hope that this year will not pass 
away without the publication of a second. 

A History of British Quadrupeds. By Thomas Bell, F.R.S., F.L.S., Lecturer 
on Comparative Anatomy at Guy's Hospital. Illustrated by a Wood-cut of 
each Species, and numerous Vignettes. 8vo. London : Van Voorst. 1836. 

Of all the Vertebrata of the British Islands, the Mammiferous, or Masto- 
zoary,* animals have been the least frequently and efficiently delineated by the 
artist. While the birds have been figured with various degrees of ability and suc- 
cess, by Pennant, Lewin, Donovan, and the lamented Bewick ; and a highly re- 
spectable work, by Meyer, on British Ornithology, is in active progress ; and our 

*• To the newly-introduced term, Mammal, we have an insuperable objection ; and the 
hybrid compound, Mammalogy, is not to be, for a moment, tolerated by an educated ear. 
There is, in fact, no such term in the Greek, as (tuppa, signifying teat or dug : and, even 
were it so, what would Mammalogy express, but dug-discourse, — not, as it is meant to im- 
ply, the doctrine of teated or Mammiferous Animals. Maslozoology, although not exactly 
to our taste, is surely far preferable, as compounded of ij.u.otos, a dug or teat, {juoi, an ani- 
mal, and x'oyoi, a discourse, to the spurious, unscientific, and unmeaning " Mammalogy" 



fishes have been iconographically displayed by Pennant and Donovan, and re- 
cently, in a style of surpassing excellence, by Yarrell, we have, at present, no il- 
lustrated publication on the British Mammalia at all comparable, in extent and 
comprehensiveness of design, or in correctness of execution, with them. The 
British Zoology, of Pennant, contains indifferently drawn figures of only seven- 
teen species of animals belonging to this Class : the History of Quadrupeds, by 
Bewick, not more than thirty-four species. Of the shewy and expensive History 
of British Quadrupeds, by Donovan, — the only monograph on the subject with 
which we are acquainted, — justice forbids us to speak in any other terms than 
those of unqualified reprobation and contempt. Contemplated either as a work of 
Science or of Art, it is alike disgraceful to its author, and unworthy of the age 
and of the country on which it has been obtruded. Under these circumstances, 
we hail, with no ordinary feelings of gratification, the appearance of the first two 
Parts of the History of British Quadrupeds, some time since announced by 
Mr. Bell. Our expectations, highly as they have been excited by a knowledge of 
the character, talents, and opportunities of the author, even a cursory inspection 
of the commencement of his work has completely satisfied. It is quite worthy 
to occupy the same shelf, in the zoological library, as Yarrell's British Fishes :■ a 
more eloquent eulogium than this, we are unable to pronounce. If the illustrated 
works on British Birds, Reptiles and Amphibia, Crustacea, and Zoophytes, re- 
cently announced for publication, correspond as closely in correctness and beauty 
of execution, as is contemplated in form and style, with the two productions 
already before us, a new and most auspicious era will have dawned upon the 
hitherto obscure and entangled paths of British Zoography. 

Parts 1 and 2 of Mr. Bell's work exhibit a description of the genera and spe- 
cies belonging to the Vespertilionidce and Rhinolophidce, of the Order Cheirop- 
tera, and the Hedge-hog and the Mole, respectively arranged under the Erina- 
ceadce and Talpidce, of the Order Insectivora. The notices of the internal struc- 
ture, of the generic and specific characters, and the habits and economy, of the 
various animals are singularly accurate and luminous, frequently original, and 
always interesting. The figures of the bats are, moreover, without one solitary 
exception, uncommonly spirited and characteristic : and those of the hedge-hog and 
the mole, in particular, so powerfully executed that they would make our old 
favorite Bewick, were he allowed to behold them, " start from the dreamless 
slumbers of the grave." If the volume be completed in the spirit, and with the 
zeal and talent, which the opening parts display, it will prove to the student of 
zoology in general, and more especially to the British naturalist, a most instructive 
and delightful work. 

Until the appearance of Dr. Fleming's valuable History of British Animals, 
six species only of the Bat-Family were recognized by systematic writers, as na- 
tives of the British islands. To this scanty catalogue, a seventh species, the 



94 

Vespertilio emarginatus, was added by Fleming. Aware, or, at least, suspecting-, 
from our own cursory observation, that some few still remained undistinguished 
and undescribed, still we were little prepared for the acquisition of ten new species 
of British Cheiroptera. Such, however, is absolutely the case : seventeen species 
are now enumerated as inhabiting Great Britain ; and so clearly characterized, 
both by Mr. Jenyns and Mr. Bell, as to leave no shadow of a doubt upon the 
zoologist's mind, of their perfectly distinct nature. 

This large addition having rendered necessary a new systematic distribution of 
the British Cheiroptera, we propose, in our next Number, to present a Synoptical 
Sketch of the Families, Genera, and Species, according to Mr. Bell's principles of 
characterization and plan of arrangement. To this, we shall prefix a cursory view 
of the anatomical structure of the Order to which these curious and interesting ani- 
mals belong : sincerely hoping that the little information which our confined limits 
will allow us to communicate, may spur on many of our readers to a deeper study of 
this yet unexhausted subject, and to a profitable use of the abundant sources from 
which our own supplies will be principally drawn — the admirable History of 
British Quadrupeds, by Mr. Bell ; and the Article, Cheiroptera, in Dr. Todd's 
excellent Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology. 



EXTRACTS FROM FOREIGN SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS. 

1. — M. De Blainville has published, in the Nouvelles Annates du Museum 
de VAcademie des Sciences, an account of the Dodo, or Dronte (Dipus ineptus, 
L.). This remarkable bird, only at present known by an oil painting of a dried foot 
preserved in the British Museum, and a head and foot in the University of Oxford, 
has occupied much of the ornithologist's attention. It is, in fact, a remarkable 
circumstance that a bird of such magnitude should no longer be found, and that 
it should, as it were, have passed away from the face of nature. Besides 
the reflections that may attach to this and other circumstances, de Blainville has 
principally directed his researches towards establishing the zoological position of 
this strange bird. In 1497 and 1499, the Dodo was abundantly found by the 
Portuguese in an island beyond the Cape of Good Hope. The Dutch, in 1598, 
also found it in the same island, now called Maurice Island (Mauritius), Isle de 
Bourbon, Isle de France. Clusius, a Dutch author, in 1605, gave a description 
of this bird, under the name of Walgh-Vogel, or a disgusting bird, on account of 
its tough and bad-scented flesh. In 1634, Herbert describes this bird under the 
name of Dodo, which it still retains : he describes it as weighing upwards of fifty 






95 



pounds, very fat, and possessing a melancholy look. The portion of this bird now 
extant in the Oxford Museum came from the collection of Tradiscant, where it 
had existed prior to 1681. The bird was even intact in 1700 ; in 1755 the com- 
mittee threw the greater part away, merely retaining the head and two feet. The 
oil portrait in the British Museum appears to have been painted in Holland, from 
a living specimen brought from the Mauritius. Collecting all the facts relating 
to this bird in original documents, it may be concluded that the Dodo is a 
massive bird, very large, not at all graceful, with short feet, and thick legs; 
the body oval, somewhat resembling that of a large Duck whose posterior part 
is not pointed ; the neck is thick, short, and curved in the form of an S. The 
head is very large, particularly the beak ; the tongue appears pointed, the leg is 
feathered to the knee : the toes are four in number, short, thick, and armed with 
strong nails, without any trace of interdigital membrane. The back is of a black 
colour, the head greenish gray ; the feathers of the wings of the tail are white. 
But little is known of its habits, it appears to have possessed no powers of flight, 
and the stones found in its gizzard lead to a conclusion that it is graminivorous. 
With respect to its place in an ornithological series, ancient writers placed it 
near to the Swan, or the Echassiers. Temminck places it, as a genus of a parti- 
cular order, after the series of birds : Mc Leay approximates it to the Gallinacece, 
and, on account of its short wings, it has also been classed with the Ostriches. 
De Blainville combats all the opinions of previous writers, and finishes by con- 
cluding that it is more nearly related to the birds of prey than any other order.; 
adding also that he is by no means satisfied that this bird has positively become 
extinct ; and so little being hitherto known of the natural productions of the Mau- 
ritius, it is hoped some traces may yet be discovered to throw a further light on 
the history of this most singular bird. 

2. — M. de la Saussaye, secretary to the next scientific congress of France, 
which is to be held at Blois, on the 1 1th of Sept. next, has published a programme 
of questions relative to history and natural sciences ; among them are many of 
high interest to the antiquary and naturalist. One of these is to determine the 
precise spot mentioned by Caesar as the site of the great annual meeting of the 
Druids, and to examine if those places in which the greater number of Druidical 
monuments are to be found are not also those in which Christianity first founded 
its religious establishments. Another question of general importance is, to give 
the rise and progress of printing in the different localities of France. In agricul- 
ture — to examine the origin of the diseases in wheat, their effect on the animal 
economy, and their best mode of cure. In natural science — to determine whether 
it is not possible to create a mineralogical classification presenting the advantages 
resulting from the natural methods followed in zoology and botany. To pronounce 
if there exists among animals a primitive type in which all the creations of that 



96 

great class of organized beings are more or less combined. To inquire if external 
circumstances can so modify the organization of animals and plants as to change 
their specific, or even generic, characters. To examine if it is well demonstrated 
that the cellular tissue of plants presents a nervous system analagous to that of 
animals, and to indicate in what that physiological analogy consists. If there is 
any transformation of the cellular tissue of plants into vessels, or have the vessels 
an individual existence from the first instant of their manifestation. Are bota- 
nists agreed on the mode of formation of the ligneous strata in dicotyledonous 
vegetables. 

3. — Three new species of South American Pheasants are added to the Parisian 
Menagerie; their familiarity and gentleness are remarkable. The cry of the 
male bird distinctly utters the three syllables ca tra ca ; the name by which they 
are recognised in their native localities, and that now scientifically adopted. 

4. — M.de PARAVEYhas communicated to the Academy of Sciences a memoir on 
slate found in the primitive formations of the Meuse ; in which it is observed that 
it possesses the property of dividing into plates, according to the given direction of 
the longitudinal fibres, called, by the workmen, longrain, according to whom no 
slate is good not presenting this constant and regular division. Therefore slate 
of a more modern formation, such as that of St. Anger's, which breaks, like glass, 
into irregular fractures or splinters, never lasts more than about thirty years, while 
that of the Ardennes exist uninjured during a lapse of two centuries ; a fact 
proved by inscriptions on the green slates with which the roofs of some ancient 
monuments in Belgium are covered. It is to this peculiar property of separating 
lengthwise, according to the parallel direction of the fibres — which supposes a 
species of crystallization — that M. de Paravey wishes to draw the attention of 
geologists. 

5. — Geologists in France appear to be in a complete state of uncertainty respect- 
ing the supposed impressions of bird's feet in the sandstone of Hildburghausen. Do 
they belong to terrestrial or marine mammals — to reptiles — to saurians — to birds — 
or are they impressions of vegetables ? The zoologist declares they are not the 
foot-marks of animals or reptiles, the ornithologist assures us he can trace no re- 
semblance whatever to the feet of birds, and de Jussieu denies positively that they 
can be vegetable impressions. These and other contradictory opinions on geolo- 
gical subjects keep alive that interesting science, and must ultimately produce the 
most satisfactory conclusions, as well as much able discussion in the learned world. 



ORNITHORHYNCHUS PARADOXUS 



ORDER. PALMATA. FAMILY. BRUTA. 





By Frederick Ryland. 

This singular animal has excited the attention of naturalists in a very great 
degree, from the peculiarities of its organization, which, until they were more 
minutely investigated, caused some doubt as to whether it could properly be 
arranged under any of the existing classes of vertebrata, and hence the name 
Ornithorhynchus paradoxus was assigned it by Professor Blumenbach, and has 
been retained to the present day. 

The body of the animal is rather flattened horizontally, and partakes of the 
characters of the Otter, the Mole, and the Beaver.* Its length, measured from 
the extremity of the mandible to the end of the tail, varies, in full-grown speci- 
mens, from sixteen to twenty-three or twenty-four inches ; the male is generally 
found to be, in a slight degree, larger than the female. The body is covered 
externally with long silky hairs of a dark-brown colour approaching to black, 
underneath which is a very fin^bft fur of a greyish colour, the latter being thick- 
er and softer on the under sdft^ce of the animal. In the possession of these two 
kinds of hair, the Ornithorhynchus resembles many of the amphibious quadru- 
peds,' as the Otter and the Beaver. The tail is flat afcd broad, and varies in 
length from four and a half to six inches ; the hair covering its upper surface is 
longer and coarser thaa»Aat of any other part of the body, and projects a little 
distance beyond the termination of the tail. 

The legs are exceedingly short ; the hinder ones rather shorter than the fore 
legs ; the feet have each five toes, connected with each other by a strong mem- 
branous expansion, like the feet of a Duck ; in the fore feet, which are the largest 
and most powerful, the web extends a little distance beyond the extremities of the 
claws, whilst in the hinder feet it attains only to the roots of the claws. The 
claws on the fore feet are strong and blunt, and well adapted for burrowing, those 
on the hind feet are sharp and curved backwards. The fore feet, with their 
membranous web are, when expanded, four inches across, and that part of the web 

* See an account of the structure and habits of the Ornithorhynchus, in the Transactions 
of the Zoological Society of London, vol. i., part iii., by Mr. G. Bennett, to which the author 
is indebted for most of the facts contained in the present article. 

VOL. I. O 



98 

which projects heyond the extremities of the toes, is loose, and can, therefore, fall 
back when the animal burrows. Owing to this arrangement, the Ornithorhyn- 
chus has the full benefit of its broad foot as a paddle when swimming ; and when 
making its way into the earth, where strength more than breadth is requisite, the 
falling back of the web increases the power of resistance in the foot, and, at the 
same time, allows the strong blunt claws to come into operation. The male has a 
moveable spur upon the posterior and inner surface of the hind leg, a little dis- 
tance above the claws. 

The head, like the body, is compressed horizontally ; the eyes of a light brown 
colour, very small, but brilliant, are placed rather backwards. There is no pro- 
jecting external ear, but the orifice of the auditory canal is situated behind and 
external to the eye, and the animal has the power of opening and closing it at 
pleasure. The mouth or beak is the most characteristic part of this curious quad- 
ruped ; it is formed of two flat projecting lips or mandibles, of a cartilaginous 
structure, and slightly serrated at the sides ; altogether bearing a very strong re- 
semblance to the beak of the Shoveller Duck. It is of a dirty greyish black 
colour, and covered with innumerable minute dots. At the base of each mandible 
is a loose projecting fold of skin, of the same dark colour as the beak, and to this 
different uses have been assigned. Mr. Bennett is of opinion that it affords pro- 
tection to the eyes when the animal is engaged in burrowing or seeking its food 
in the mud ; Sir Everard Home* considers the use of these folds to be, to prevent 
the beak from being pushed into the soft mud beyond this part, which is so broad 
as completely to stop its further progress. 

The possession of cheek-pouches is the only other structural peculiarity to 
which it is necessary to refer in the description of "this animal. When recently 
captured, they generally contain mud and small stones mixed up with the animal- 
culae on which the creature feeds ; and it is supposed that in these pouches the 
food undergoes trituration and other changes, preliminary to its digestion in the 
stomach. 

The Ornithorhynchus is ovoviviparous, but suckles its young, after birth, like 
most other quadrupeds. 

From the singular organization of this creature, we can scarcely wonder at the 
indicision of naturalists, in the first instance, as to what place it ought to occupy 
in the animal series. To increase the dilemma, it was always believed, till very 
recently, that the Ornithorhynchus propagated its species by means of eggs, but 
the investigations of Mr. Bennett and Mr. Owen-f- have completely set that ques- 
tion at rest. In its mode of generation, it resembles the reptile tribe ; its want 
of bony teeth, the singular formation of its duck-like bill, and the possession of 

" Philosophical Transactions for 1800. 
■f Philosophical Transactions, for 1834; and Zoological Transactions, vol. i., p. 221. 



99 

webbed feet, seem to ally this animal to the family of the water-fowl ; whilst its 
general appearance, its hairy covering-, and internal structure prove indisputably its 
title to be ranked amongst the mammalia. 

The Ornithorhynchus is an inhabitant of Australia, and is found both in New 
Holland and in Van Dieman's land. The race is very numerous ': they frequent 
the rivers of those countries, and form their burrows in the banks. They are 
called by the colonists Water-Moles, from a resemblance they are supposed to 
bear to the common European Mole. Their shyness and timidity are extreme ; 
so that " on seeing them," says Mr. Bennett,* who had many opportunities of 
observing them in their native haunts, " the spectator must remain perfectly sta- 
tionary, as the slightest noise or movement of the body would cause their instant 
disappearance, so acute are they in sight or hearing, or perhaps in both ; and they 
seldom re-appear when they have been frightened. By remaining perfectly quiet 
when the animal is " up," the spectator is enabled to obtain an excellent view of 
its movements on the water ; it seldom, however, remains longer than one or two 
minutes playing and paddling on the surface, soon diving again and re-appearing a 
short distance above or below, generally according to the direction in which it 
dives. It dives head foremost with an audible splash." They swim very low, so 
that the upper part of the back and the head only are seen above the surface of 
the water ; and when their fur is wet, they resemble a mass of dirty weeds 
rather than a living animal, on which account they often escape observation. 

Their food consists of river insects, small shell-fish, and other animalculae, 
which they obtain for the most part by inserting their beaks into the soft mud on 
the sides of the rivers, and particularly at the roots of the various aquatic plants 
that grow in such situations. Their mode of seeking food in the mud or water 
is very like that of a Duck when feeding in similar places ; immediately after 
withdrawing the beak from the mud, they raise the head, and masticate the prey 
they have obtained by a lateral motion of the mandibles one upon the other. 

Their habitations are formed by burrowing in the banks of the rivers which 
they frequent. The burrows are generally about twenty feet long, but they have 
been found as much as fifty feet in length ; they have two entrances, one of them 
situated three or four feet above the surface of the river, and the other a short 
distance below the level of the water. At the commencement they are capacious, 
but immediately afterwards become contracted to a size little more than sufficient 
to let the body of the animal pass ; they proceed upwards, rather in a serpentine 
direction, and terminate just beneath the surface of the ground in a kind of cham- 
ber large enough to contain the mother and three or four young ones. The nest 
is made of dried weeds, bark, and small fibrous roots. The entrance of the bur- 
row is so placed as to be concealed from observation by surrounding grass, weeds, 

* Loc. Cit., page 234. 

o2 



100 

and shrubs, and no heaps of dirt are found near it ; so that Mr. Bennett suggests 
the probability of the animal carrying away the loose mould collected during the 
excavation, in order that the heap, which would otherwise be formed, may not 
point out the situation of the burrow. 

Mr. Bennett succeeded in capturing two full-furred young Ornithorhynci, in 
one of the burrows that he examined. He conveyed them to Sidney, and was in 
hopes of sending them alive to England ; but, though they were at first very ac- 
tive and sprightly, in a short time they became meagre, their coats lost the sleek 
glossy appearance indicative of health, they ate little, and at length died, about five 
weeks from the period of their capture. As his opportunities of observing these 
animals were considerable, and his account of their habits is the only one of much 
value that we possess, I shall not hesitate to transcribe, in his own words, some of 
the observations he made upon their proceedings. 

" The young animals sleep in various postures, sometimes in an extended posi- 
tion, and often rolled up like a hedgehog, in the form of a ball." The latter pos- 
ture, which is a favourite one with them, " is effected by the fore paws being 
placed under the beak, with the head and mandibles bent down towards the tail, 
the hind paws crossed over the mandibles, and the tail turned up ; thus complet- 
ing the rotundity of the figure. They usually reposed side by side, like a pair of 
furred balls, and awful little growls issued from them when disturbed ; but when 
very sound asleep, they might be handled and examined with impunity. One 
evening, both the animals came out about dusk, went as usual, and eat food from 
the saucer, and then commenced playing one with the other like two puppies, 
attacking with their mandibles, and raising the fore paws against each other. In 
the struggle one would get thrust down, and at the moment when the spectator 
would expect it to rise again and renew the combat, it would commence scratching 
itself, its antagonist looking on, and waiting for the sport to be renewed." They 
were very fond of combing themselves with their hind feet ; an operation they 
generally performed after being in the water, and before retiring for the night. 
" It was most ludicrous to observe these uncouth-looking little beasts running 
about, overturning and seizing one another with their mandibles, and then, in the 
midst of their fun and frolic, coolly inclining to one side, and scratching themselves 
in the gentlest manner possible. After the cleaning operation was concluded, 
they would perambulate the room for a short time, and then seek repose." Their 
mode of climbing to the summit of a book-case, or any other elevated piece of 
furniture, is very surprising, because the opportunity of exercising such an in- 
stinct or propensity could scarcely have occurred to them when in a state of na- 
ture ; it reminds one of a late celebrated escape from Newgate. " This was at 
last discovered to be effected by the animal supporting its back against the wall, 
and placing its feet against the book-case, and thus, by means of the strong cuta- 
neous muscles of the back, and the claws of the feet, contriving to reach the top 



101 

very expeditiously. They performed this mode of climbing often, so that I had 
frequent opportunities of witnessing the manner in which it was done." 

As far as we are at present acquainted with the disposition of the Ornitho- 
rhynchus, it is free from vicious propensities ; its extreme timidity induces it to 
seek for solitude, and to haunt only the most unfrequented parts of rivers ; when 
handled or disturbed, it evinces its impatience and dislike by a low growl, but 
never shews a disposition to bite or scratch. It has been asserted that the spur 
with which the hind leg of the male is armed is perforated, and that through it a 
poisonous secretion is discharged, when the animal is irritated.* Mr. Bennett 
endeavoured to ascertain the correctness of this, by seizing the hind leg of the 
male animal, and roughly handling him ; but he could not perceive that any effort 
was made to avail himself of the spur in his defence, and he appears to think, 
therefore, that the statement touching the use of the spur is entirely groundless. 

This animal, though not strictly amphibious, appears to spend as much of its 
time on the water as on the land ; its short legs and webbed feet are better adapted 
for urging the body through the former element than over the surface of the 
latter. In the water it finds its food, in the immediate vicinity of the water it con- 
structs its habitation. Mr. Bennett generally indulged his captives with an occa- 
sional swim, in which they seemed to take great delight. When placed near the 
water (a cord having been fastened round the hind leg to prevent escape), they 
would instinctively find their way into it, and travel up and down the stream, at 
the same time shewing a partiality for those places that most abounded in aquatic 
weeds. After swimming and feeding, they laid themselves down on the grassy 
bank, combing and cleaning their coats with the claws of the hind feet. 

I am not aware that this animal has, as yet, been made, in any way, serviceable 
to the human race. The natives of Australia use them as food, but as they 
devour, with equal avidity, frogs, snakes, and rats, this cannot be considered as 
any very great recommendation of their edible qualities. 

Besides the name of Ornithorhynchus, this animal is commonly known by the 
name of Platypus, which was given to it by Dr. Shaw ; and it is still more fre- 
quently called the Duck-billed Animal, from the peculiar form of its beak. 

* History of Austral-Asia, by R. M. Martin, F.S.S., page 111. 



ON THE MORAL ADVANTAGES OF THE STUDY OF NATURE. 

Though it may seem superfluous to offer any observations on this subject in 
a work not likely, in the present stage of its career, to fall into the hands of 
readers not already devoted to the pursuit of Natural History, yet we are induced 
to do so in the hope that, if they should approve our remarks, they may point 
them out to their friends, and so perchance increase the number of the cultivators of 
natural science. It is more particularly with a view to excite the attention of 
parents and teachers that we throw out these suggestions, since it is more espe- 
cially in their power to give them effect. These influential persons would we 
intreat in favour of those interesting beings, the members of the rising generation, 
committed to their care. We would appeal to every feeling and principle of their 
better nature, in their behalf. Few parents can be charged with neglecting the 
bodily health of their children, though some err in the choice of the means by 
which it is to be promoted ; but many, very many, are either indifferent to- the 
mental and spiritual welfare of their offspring, or err grievously in the choice of the 
means by which they are to be secured. The education which is necessary to fit an 
individual for the discharge of the social duties of his station, and for forwarding 
the interests of the community, it is undoubtedly right that he should receive. 
But man lives not for society alone, but also for himself ; he lives not for time only, 
but for eternity : and an education is required for these too, which, in many cases, 
he never receives, or at least never has provided for him by his parents. 

Let us not be misunderstood, nor let it be supposed that we undervalue or 
would dispense with classical learning, or the kind of learning necessary to carry 
on mercantile affairs. Far from it : our wish is that they should have that, and 
much more. While some of their time is devoted to acquire those languages by 
which man has held, or still holds, intercourse and sweet communion with his 
fellow men, improvement and enlargement of their minds must follow. But while 
we teach them many tongues, and enable them to read many books, shall we leave 
them ignorant of the signs and characters of the book of nature, or give them no 
opportunity of perusing the bright volume of creation, the pages of which are 
daily and annually unrolled before us, containing the autograph of its mighty 
author, and which, to use the impressive words of Lord Bacon, " is written in the 
only language that hath gone out to all the ends of the earth, unaffected by the 
confusion of Babel." 

Alas ! that we should teach them to read what will only enable them to 
" heap up riches, while they know not who shall gather them" and fail to teach 
them how to commune with their God, and to acquire a portion of that treasure 
which they, and not another, shall inherit throughout eternity. 

Those who are born and bred in large cities are rarely permitted, still less 
purposely led out, to see the face of nature, to trace her lineaments, and feel the 
influence of her smiles. They are not taught to regard her as the common mother 



103 

of all organized beings, nor to look upon her with the eyes of affectionate children. 
The case is not altered when they are sent to any of the schools, whether suburban or 
remote from the city of their birth ; for in the walks which are then taken, as a part 
of the system, they are made to march, during the stated period, only for the health 
of the body, in formal columns, and not allowed to delay to examine any natural 
object, nor even to turn their eyes either to the right side or the left. And thus 
they quit these seminaries as ignorant of the operations of nature as if they had 
continued to dwell in the centre of the most crowded metropolis, or had been 
denied all use of the organ of sight. This important period of life, when they are 
so susceptible of receiving beneficial impressions from the examination of the 
works of creation, being allowed to pass unimproved, the parent imagines he has 
discharged his duty to his children if he then places them at the entrance of the 
paths which lead to wealth, to honour, to glory, or to power. But the fondest 
hopes may be disappointed, the best laid schemes for arriving at distinction may 
be frustrated, and the unsuccessful candidate may be compelled to retire from the 
busy mart, and to close those books and correspondence which he trusted would 
have proved the instruments of his gain, and betake himself to an obscure or soli- 
tary abode, far from the smoke of cities and the hum of men. How irksomely 
must pass his days, what a dreary and desolate void must be his existence, if, from 
ignorance of its alphabet, the book of natural wisdom lies open before him in vain, 

" where, beneath the white-armed beach, 

By valley's stream, or hillock's verdant crown, 
Her simple lesson nature waits to teach." 

But suppose the greatest success to have attended his efforts, and that he has 
become the possessor of " woods, and lawns, and long-withdrawing vales." His 
bosom may dilate when his eye surveys the fruit of his toil and his gratified ambi- 
tion, and his ear may be regaled with the lowing of his cattle on a thousand hills ; 
but all these he must leave to another, nor can it be said that while in possession 
of them his mind was more improved, or even as much, as that of the ploughman 
who tilled his acres, or the herd who tended his flocks, if the latter, and not the 
former, saw and understood, and traced to their source, the operations of nature 
continually taking place around them, and which could alone render his lands pro- 
ductive, and his position an object of vulgar envy. 

An able divine (the Rev. W. Jones, of Nayland) has well observed — " Let a 
man have all the world can give him, he is still miserable, if he has a grovelling, 
unlettered, indevout mind. Let him have his gardens, his fields, his woods, his 
lawns, for grandeur, plenty, ornament, and gratification : while at the same 
time God is not in all his thoughts ; and let another have neither field nor gar- 
den, let him only look at nature with an enlightened mind — a mind which can see 
and adore the Creator in his works, can consider them as demonstrations of his 



104 

power, his wisdom, his goodness, and his truth : this man is greater, as well as 
happier, in his poverty, than the other in his riches. The one is but a little 
higher than a beast, the other but a little lower than an angel." 

The very leisure for which the wealthy merchant sighed may prove his great- 
est bane, and, finding time hang heavy, and deprived of the excitement connected 
with his former pursuits, he may, as a substitute, betake himself to debasing and 
ruinous ones — to gambling, or dissipation, and perchance impair, if not lose, his 
fortune, and, to meet the consequences of his extravagance, may oppress his 
tenants whom he should befriend, and, becoming morose and selfish, introduce 
misery and distress into his domestic circle. 

" But," says Dr. Drummond, in his excellent Letters to a Young Naturalist, 
" who are these men to whom time is a burden ? Are they geologists, or astro- 
nomers, or chemists ? Are they botanists, or landscape painters ? Are they en- 
tomologists, are they naturalists or philosophers of any kind ? We may safely, I 
believe, answer in the negative. No one who pursues science is likely to com- 
plain of the ennui of modern times ; and I feel convinced that science, in union 
with natural religion, is the pursuit best of all calculated to make our time pass 
happily, and the world we inhabit seem a paradise." 

Another writer (Dr. Boot) has eloquently said — " There is a mysterious com- 
munion between the mind and heart of man and the sights and sounds of natural 
objects. A voice, descending from heaven, and borne upon the breath of morn, is 
heard along the enamelled mead, or through the mazes of the dark forest, which 
penetrates to the sources of our thoughts and affections, and which kindles a spirit 
of devotion to light and warm our own bosoms, to be thence reflected upon all 
around us. Listen to its instructions in the delightful solitude of your occasion- 
ally secluded hours, far from the contaminating influence of worldly ambition ; 
and you will return to society with feelings better adapted to the discharge of your 
duties there, and in possession of a mean for happiness of which no adversity can 
rob you, and with a refinement of mind which no prosperity can vitiate." 

Nor is it only in the joyous morn or active noon of life that these things 
should engage our attention, or are capable of yielding pleasure, and bringing 
with them their reward. For after a long period of usefulness to ourselves and 
others, when the sun of our day begins to cast lengthened and prophetic shadows 
along the vale of life, we naturally feel anxious to retire, to repose and meditate 
awhile, ere we quit this for another scene of being. Then what occupation can 
be found so calm and tranquil, so befitting the evening of life, as the contempla- 
tion of the objects of nature? In observing and considering "the lilies, how they 
grow," we at once comply with the divine injunction and reap the benefit of our 
compliance, in finding our minds gradually purified from those stains of earth 
which even the best of us contract during a lengthened intercourse with the 
world, and so become progressively prepared for the change which awaits us* — Z. 



HISTORY OF THE COMMON DIPPER, (Cinclus aquaticus). 
By William Mac Gillivray, A.M., F.R.S.E., M.W.S., &c, 

CONSERVATOR OF THE MUSEUM OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS OF EDINBURGH. 

The Dipper is, in many respects, one of the most interesting of our native 
birds. Residing chiefly in the wild glens of the mountainous districts, it now and 
then presents itself to the wandering naturalist as it flits along the streams, or is 
seen perched on a stone in the midst of the water ; the white patch on its breast 
rendering it conspicuous at a great distance. Even the mere collector of plants — 
who, of all men, seems to be the least capable of comprehending the harmonies of 
nature — pauses to gaze upon it, as it shoots past him in its rapid and even flight ; 
the solitary shepherd, wending his way to the mountain corry, meets it with 
delight ; and the patient and contemplative angler, as he guides his tackle over 
the deep pool, smiles upon the tiny fisher whose frequent becks have attracted his 
notice. The singular circumstance of its obtaining its food under the surface of 
the water, although in form and structure it is allied to the Thrushes and other 
land birds, has especially drawn the attention of ornithologists to it ; and the 
explanation of its mode of progression in that element has exercised their ingenu- 
ity, although very few have based their conjectures on actual observation. Lastly, 
the land-proprietor or his factor, too much occupied with other pursuits to inquire 
for themselves, and trusting to the reports of prejudiced persons, direct their 
gamekeepers and shepherds to destroy the lively and harmless creature whenever 
an opportunity occurs, because it has been supposed to destroy the eggs and fry 
of the salmon. 

This bird having, in a particular manner, attracted my attention in the course 
of my many rambles, I have been enabled in some measure to trace its history, 
which I now have the pleasure of presenting to the readers of The Naturalist, 
assuring them that it contains nothing but the results of long-continued observa- 
tion. In the first place, however, I shall give the generic characters of Cinclus, 
of which only three species are known to me : C. Pallasii, found by Professor 
Pallas, in the Crimea ; C. Americanus, which inhabits Mexico and the Rocky 
Mountains ; and C. aquaticus, found in most parts of Europe. 

Cinclus, — (Bechst). Dipper. 

Bill rather short, slender, slightly ascending, deeper than broad at the base, 
much compressed towards the end. Upper mandible, with the dorsal line, slightly 
arched, the ridge rounded, the sides convex, the edges sharp and inflected, with 
an obscure notch close to the narrow, somewhat deflected, tip. Lower mandible 
slightly bent upwards, the angle medial and very narrow, the crura having the 

VOL. I. P 



10G 

sides sloping outwards, the dorsal line slightly convex, the ridge narrow and 
rounded, the tip rather acute. Mouth very narrow ; upper mandible internally 
narrow, concave, with a central depressed line ; palate nearly flat ; aperture of the 
posterior nares linear, margined with acute papillae ; lower mandible concave, with 
a central prominent line. Tongue slightly extensile, sagittate, narrow, grooved, 
serrulato-setose towards the end, and terminated by two bristle-points. (Esopha- 
gus of nearly uniform diameter; proventriculus with oblong simple glandules. 
Stomach muscular, compressed, with two roundish central tendons ; its cuticular 
coat dense, tough, and rugous. Intestine of nearly uniform diameter ; two very 
small vermiform coeca. 

Nostrils linear, direct, with a bare margin above, in the lower and fore part of 
the nasal membrane, which is covered with very short feathers. Eyes rather 
small ; eyelids densely feathered. Aperture of external ear round, of moderate 
size. 

Head oblong, rather small, compressed, the forehead low. Neck rather short. 
Body compact, rather deeper than broad. Legs strong, of ordinary length ; tar- 
sus compressed, covered anteriorly with a long undivided plate and four inferior 
scutella, posteriorly with two long plates united at a very acute angle, and several 
transverse rugae below. Toes rather large and strong, covered above with a few 
plates, papillar beneath ; first, second, and fourth nearly equal, third much longer ; 
second slightly connected at the base, by a web, with the third, which is connected 
with the fourth by a longer but narrower web, as far as the second joint of each. 
Claws short, bluntish, much compressed, slightly margined, laterally grooved, that 
of the hind toe considerably larger. 

Plumage ordinary, rather compact, the feathers oblong and rounded ; those 
about the base of the bill very short and somewhat velvety, without bristly points. 
No bristles at the base of the bill. Wings rather short, broad, rounded ; primary 
quills ten, the first very short and narrow, the third longest, and, with the next 
three, slightly cut out on the outer web towards the end ; secondary quills nine, 
long, broad, rounded ; all the quills much decurved. Tail short, even, of twelve 
broadish feathers, which are slightly decurved. Legs feathered to the tibio-tarsal 
joint. The whole body closely covered with down, as in the diving sea-birds. 

Cinclus aquaticus, — (Bechst). The Common Dipper. 

The Dipper, Water Ouzel, or Water Crow, is remarkable for the compact- 
ness of its form, in which respect, as well as in some of its motions and attitudes, 
it bears more resemblance to the Kingfisher and the Common Wren, than to any 
other British bird. Among foreign birds, the species of the genus Pitta, are 
those which approach nearest to it in form. Its plumage is of ordinary length, 
soft, rather compact, slightly glossed, very short on the fore part of the head, 



107 

where it resembles that of the diving palmipede birds. The wings, when closed, 
reach one-third down the tail, and when expanded are of a semi-ovate form, broad 
and rounded. The first quill is very short and narrow ; the third longest, but 
the second and fourth are scarcely shorter. The quills are all much curved down- 
wards, the secondaries slightly bent inwards, all rounded. The tail is short and 
even. , 

The bill is blueish-black, tinged with brown at the edges ; the inside of the 
mandibles blackish ; the palate white ; the tongue blackish anteriorly, yellowish 
behind. Iris pale brown, with a ring of black in the middle. Tarsi and toes 
blueish grey, tinged with brown ; claws dusky. Head and hind-neck deep brown ; 
both eye-lids with a white speck. The general colour of the upper parts is dark- 
grey, each feather broadly margined with black. First row of coverts and all the 
quills slightly tipped with pale grey ; the quills and tail dark brown, tinged with 
grey. Throat and fore- neck pure white ; breast chestnut-brown, that colour gra- 
dually blended with the deep grey of the abdomen. Sides and lower tail-coverts 
of a lighter grey, the latter slightly tipped with pale-brown. The down and the 
downy parts of the feathers, are dull dark-greyish-blue, the concealed part of the 
shafts whitish. 

The oesophagus is two inches long, its glandular part five-twelfths. The sto- 
mach is oblong, compressed, muscular, the cuticular coat hard and rugous. Intes- 
tine twelve inches long, diminishing a little in diameter towards the coeca, which 
come off at the distance of about an inch from the extremity, and are only ^ of 
an inch in length. 

The entire length is 7| inches ; bill |- along the ridge, 9-8ths along the edge ; 
extent of wings 12£ ; wing from flexure 3| ; longest quill 2|- ; tail 2£ ; tarsus 1£, 
middle toe 1^-. 

The female differs very little from the male in external appearance, the brown 
of the head being merely a little lighter, the brownish-red of the breast less 
intense, and the white of the fore-neck of somewhat less extent. Length 1\ ; 
bill } ; extent of wings 11 ; tarsus 1^; middle toe 1 and l-16th inches. 

Adult individuals vary chiefly with respect to the tints of the breast, that part 
having more or less of the red or chestnut colour, and sometimes a white band 
down the centre. The changes that take place in the plumage, as it becomes old 
and worn, are not very remarkable. The tail-feathers and primary quills are 
those which suffer most from rubbing. 

The Dipper frequents the sides of rivers and streams of inferior magnitude, 
especially such as are clear and rapid, with pebbly or rocky margins. I have met 
with it in every part of Scotland, as well as in the hilly portions of Cumberland 
and Westmoreland ; and it is said, by Montagu, to occur in Wales and Devon- 
shire. In Scotland, it is not peculiar to the mountainous regions, being found in 
the lowest parts of the Lothians, as well as on the alpine rills of the Grampians, 

p2 



108 

and other elevated tracts ; but it is generally more abundant in hilly ground, and, 
although never common in any district, is nowhere more plentiful than on the. 
Tweed and its tributaries in the pastoral counties of Peebles and Selkirk. It is 
also a well-known bird in all the larger Hebrides. It is not only a permanent 
resident, but seldom shifts its station to any great extent, excepting during con- 
tinued frosts, when it descends along the streams, and is seen flitting about by the 
rapids and falls. On lakes having a muddy or peaty bottom I have never observ- 
ed it ; but it may sometimes be seen on those which are shallow and pebbly at the 
margins, as on St. Mary's Loch, where I have shot it. 

The flight of the Dipper is steady, direct, and rapid, like that of the King- 
fisher, being effected by regularly timed and quick beats of the wings, without 
intermissions or sailings. It perches on stones or projecting crags by the sides of 
streams, or in the water, where it may be seen frequently inclining the breast 
downwards, and jerking up the tail, much in the manner of the Wheatear and 
Stonechat, and still more of the Wren ; its legs bent, its neck retracted, and its 
wings slightly drooping. It plunges into the water, not dreading the force of the 
current, dives and makes its way beneath the surface, generally moving against 
the stream, and often with surprising speed. It does not, however, immerse itself 
head foremost, like the Kingfisher, the Tern, or the Gannet ; but either walks out 
into the water, or alights upon its surface, and then plunges like an Auk or Guil- 
lemot. I have seen it moving under water in situations where I could observe it 
with certainty, and I readily perceived that its actions were precisely similar to 
those of the Divers, Mergansers, and Cormorants, which I have often watched 
from an eminence as they pursued the shoals of Sand-eels along the sandy shores 
of the Hebrides. It, in fact, flew — not merely using the wing from the carpal 
joint, but extending it considerably and employing its whole extent, just as if mov- 
ing in the air. The general direction of the body in these circumstances is 
obliquely downwards ; and great force is evidently used to counteract the effects of 
gravity, the bird finding it difficult to keep itself at the bottom. Montagu well 
describes the appearance which it presents under such circumstances i — " In one 
or two instances, where we have been able to perceive it under water, it appeared 
to tumble about in a very extraordinary manner, with its head downwards, as if 
picking something ; and at the same time great exertion was used, both by the 
wings and legs." When searching for food, it does not proceed to great distances 
under water ; but, alighting on some spot, sinks, and soon reappears in the imme- 
diate neighbourhood, when it either dives again, or rises on the wing to drop some- 
where else on the stream, or settle on a stone. The assertion of its walking be- 
low the water, which some persons have ventured, is not made good by observa- 
tion nor countenanced by reason. The Dipper is by no means a walking bird : 
even on land I have never seen it move more than a few steps, which it accom- 
plished by a kind of leaping motion. Its short legs and long curved claws are 



109 

very ill adapted for running, but admirably calculated for securing a steady foot- 
ing on slippery stones, whether above or beneath the surface of the water. 

My first opportunities of observing this bird moving under water were in 
Braemar, in 1819 ; since which time I have had much pleasure in taking notice of 
it in various parts of the country. In September, 1832, I watched a Dipper for 
some time, on a part of the Tweed, where the current was very rapid. It flew off 
from the shore, and alighted in the middle of the stream, where it immediately 
dived. Re-appearing a little way farther up the river, it floated for a few seconds, 
dived, emerged, and flew to the opposite bank, on reaching which it again disap- 
peared under water for a short time, and thus continued its exertions. When 
perched on a stone near the shore, it usually makes short incursions into the 
water, apparently for the purpose of procuring food, and returns to its station. 
On these occasions it is not difficult to approach it, provided due precaution be 
used ; but in general it is shy and easily alarmed. 

In August, 1834, while ascending White Coom, the highest mountain in 
Dumfriesshire, accompanied by a boy, I observed a Dipper retreating beneath a 
large stone, over which the water fell, in the midst of a streamlet that flowed 
along the bottom of a narrow scar or rut. Imagining that its nest or young 
might be concealed there, we went up to the place, and, on seeing the bird behind 
the little waterfall, endeavoured to catch it, on which it sallied forth, plunged into 
a pool, and attempted to escape down the stream, but without success, for we met 
it at every turn, and it was obliged to betake itself again to its retreat. We now 
turned off the water from the stone, when it again plunged into the pool, and 
after some turnings, at length effected its escape. This bird on emerging at some 
distance, flew off: and I considered it strange that it had not used its wings from 
the beginning, as it certainly could have more easily escaped through the air than 
through the water. The chace afforded another rare opportunity of viewing its 
subaqueous flight, which, in all probability, was caused by excessive alarm. 

On being wounded, it commonly plunges into the water, flies beneath its sur- 
face to the shore, and conceals itself among the stones or under the bank. In fact, 
on all such occasions, if enough of life remains, it is sure to hide itself, so that one 
requires to look sharply after it. In this respect it greatly resembles the Com- 
mon Gallinule, or Water-hen. In the winter of 1829, 1 shot one on the Almond, 
which flew to the other side, walked deliberately out into the water, disappeared, 
and slowly emerged under a bank at some distance, where I found it after cross- 
ing the stream. Another had just strength sufficient to fly into a deep hole under 
a bridge on the Yarrow, partially filled with water, on which it was found floating, 
dead. In August, 1834, I shot a Dipper on Mannor Water, in Tweeddale, when 
it flew off, dived, and hid itself under a bank, on which I forded the stream and 
endeavoured to secure it, but it slipped out under water, swam down the current 
twenty yards or so, and got under a large stone, where it was traced. The intro- 



110 



duction of the gun-rod only caused the persecuted bird to retreat as far as it could, 
and when I was employed in removing some pebbles and gravel from behind the 
stone, it slipped out under water, and proceeded down the stream a considerable 
way before it rose to breathe. I noticed the place where it dived in under the 
bank, and it being at length obliged to come up to respire I met the bird with my 
hand, and so secured it. 

Men are not much accustomed to regard with interest or compassion the suf- 
ferings of animals, especially of the smaller species ; and although the death of an 
Elephant at Exeter 'Change, or a Giraffe in Windsor Park, may make a great 
noise — that of a Mouse in a trap, or a Snipe in a springe, is as little considered as 
the fall of a leaf or a flake of snow. The most melancholy ornithological exhibi- 
tion that I remember to have witnessed, was that of a wounded Dipper, which 
was shot through the lungs, above Cramond Bridge, near Edinburgh. It stood 
still without attempting to fly off, apparently insensible to all external objects, its 
legs bent, its wings drooping, its head declined. The blood was oozing from its 
side and gurgling in its windpipe, which the poor bird made ineffectual efforts to 
clear. At intervals, a convulsive heaving of the chest took place, followed by an 
effort to vomit ; and in this state the sufferer stood for five minutes until I got 
over the stream to it, when it expired in my hand. In the agony of death, the 
pupil became contracted to a mere point, and presently after dilated; when the 
lower eyelid gradually rose and covered the eye. This is commonly the case 
in birds, which do not expire with the eyes open, like man and most quadrupeds. 

I may here remark that there are two very expeditious modes of killing a 
wounded bird : one, first shewn to me by my friend Mr. Audubon, consists of 
squeezing with the finger and thumb the sides of the bird against its heart, which 
in a very few seconds ceases to act : the other, which is still more rapidly effec- 
tual, is to introduce a pin between the occiput and atlas, and thus lacerate the 
spinal cord. 

When wounded and caught, the Dipper struggles hard, grasping firmly with 
the feet, but does not attempt to bite. I mention this circumstance as common 
to certain species of birds, such as the Fieldfare, Blackbird, and Starling, which, 
without possessing the power of annoying their enemy, yet do not tamely suffer 
themselves to be destroyed, but struggle to the last, undismayed and ready to use 
the slightest chance of escape. Other species, equal in strength, such as the 
Snipe, the Golden Plover, and the Lapwing, do not struggle so vigorously, but 
meet their fate in a quiet and apparently stupid manner. Some birds, again, such 
as the Titmice and some Sylvice, although evidently extremely frightened on being 
seized, watch every opportunity of biting. I need scarcely add that some, as the 
Kestril and Sparrowhawk, grasp and bite with as much good will as effect. These 
diversities of character may in general be traced to differences in organization ; 
but the general rules or laws to which one might attempt to reduce them are not 
easily detected. 



Ill 

The food of the Dipper is said, by authors, to consist of small fishes, roe, and 
water-insects ; and there is nothing incredible in this, although these persons have 
not asserted that they have observed fish or their eggs in the stomach of this spe- 
cies. I have opened not a few, at all seasons of the year, and have never found 
any other substances than Lymnece, Ancyli, Coleoptera, and grains of gravel. 
As to the ova and fry of the Salmon, there is no evidence whatever that the Dip- 
per ever swallows them ; and, therefore, the persecution to which this bird has 
been subjected in consequence of the mere suspicion, ought to cease until the fact 
be proved. With respect to the sand and gravel, which many birds, insectivorous 
as well as granivorous, swallow, I may here remark that none of it, so far as I 
have observed, ever passes into the intestines, excepting in the tribe of Geese and 
Ducks. 

The Dipper is generally seen in pairs, sometimes singly, and, at the breeding 
season, in families, but never in flocks. To the naturalist, its occurrence along 
the streams of our wild and mountainous districts is peculiarly delightful. Even 
shepherds and labourers take special notice of it ; the Water Crow, as it is com- 
monly named, being familiar to the inhabitants of such districts as it frequents. 
Its song is short, but lively, and continued at intervals. It bears no resemblance 
to that of any species of Thrush, excepting the Redwing, but is not unlike the 
subdued song of the Starlings. This gentle warble is not confined to any period 
of the year, but may be heard during sunny weather at all seasons. Its common 
note, which it frequently utters while perched on a stone or while flying along the 
stream, resembles the syllable, chit. 

Early in spring the Dipper begins to form its nest, so that its first brood is 
abroad at the same time with that of the Blackbird. The nest is bulky, composed 
of mosses, grass, and roots, lined with dry leaves and covered with an arch of the 
same materials. It is placed among the moss on the bank of a stream, or among 
the roots of a tree in a concealed place overhanging the water, sometimes in a 
crevice of the rock, or under a bridge. The eggs, five or six in number, are of a 
regular oval form, rather pointed, pure white, generally eleven-twelfths of an inch 
long, and nearly nine-twelfths in their greatest breadth. 

The general colour of the upper parts of the young bird when fledged is dull 
grey, lighter than that of the adult ; the head and hind-neck are of the same colour 
as the back, all the feathers being margined with brownish-black. The wings are 
brownish-black ; the quills, alula, and larger coverts margined with grey, the latter 
slightly tipped with greyish-white. The throat, fore-neck, and breast are of a 
delicate pale-buff or cream colour intermixed with blackish, the margins of all the 
feathers being of the latter colour. The upper and hind part of the sides, the 
abdomen, and lower tail-coverts, are dull grey, mixed with cream colour, and the 
proximal tail-coverts are chiefly of the latter. The tail is like the wings, but 
tipped with brownish-white. The bill and eyes are as in the adult ; but the tarsi 



112 

are paler anteriorly, as are the toes, and the claws are hair-brown, margined with 
whiteish. 

At the first autumnal moult, which takes place in September, the young 
assume nearly the appearance of the adults : the fore-neck becomes white, the 
breast dusky, with more or less red, and the head brown ; but it is not until the 
second change that the colours are completed. 

Several curious circumstances are observed with respect to the bill of the 
Dipper. In the first place, when the bird is young, it precisely resembles that of 
the genus Turdus, being merely a little more slender ; but when the bird is 
advanced in age, it is not merely proportionally, but actually much shorter, and 
the tips, by being rubbed, become similar to those of the bill of the Woodpeckers, 
although less neatly wedged. In this respect, the Dipper resembles the Oyster- 
catcher ; and the change in the form of the bill is caused by the same action in 
both species. Again, in old birds, the thin edges of the mandibles become marked 
with parallel cuts, similar to those of the mandibles of the Gannet, although gene- 
rally perpendicular, as in the Jabiru. 

The Dipper, which in the form of its bill and feet, and in the structure of its 
digestive organs, is allied to the Thrushes, Pittae, and Chamaezae, is singular in 
respect to its plumage, which is in a great measure that of an aquatic bird. The 
parts of the body which in these birds are bare of down, are in it closely covered ; 
bristles are entirely wanting at the base of the bill ; the feathers on the fore part 
of the head are very short ; the wings and tail are also short ; and the body being 
nearly as broad as deep, the adaption for floating and diving is obvious, although 
the feet are not webbed, and the claws rather large, compressed, and curved. 
These latter circumstances shew that the bird is not fitted for pursuing fishes 
under water ; and, as I have remarked, although authors conjecture that fish 
forms part of its food, none of them assert that they know this to be the case from 
actual observation. 

The digestive organs are entirely analogous to those of the Thrushes, and 
other allied genera, but bear no resemblance to those of the piscivorous birds, 
the oesophagus being narrow and the stomach a true gizzard. The bird is destin- 
ed to feed upon aquatic insects and mollusca, which adhere to the stones under 
the water. It is, therefore, fitted for making its way to the bottom at small 
depths, and maintaining itself there for a short time — a minute or more ; in con- 
formity with which design, its plumage is short and dense, its tail short, its wings 
short, broad, and strong, its bill unincumbered by bristles and of the proper form 
for seizing small objects. Having its feet constructed like those of a Thrush, but 
proportionally stronger, the Dipper thus forms a connecting link between the 
slender-billed passerine birds and the diving palmipedes, as the Kingfisher seems 
to unite them with the plunging birds of the same order, or perhaps with the 
Herons. 



113 



In this account of a bird with which I have been in some measure familiar for 
years, I have refrained from all poetical embellishment, and confined myself entire- 
ly to the results of observation ; judging that histories of birds constructed on the 
plan of a fashionable romance are not such as can gratify the taste of the real lover 
of nature. And in truth the realities of existence are much more admirable than 
the creations of the most unbridled imagination. 



ON THE SILURIAN AND OTHER ROCKS OF THE DUDLEY 
AND WOLVERHAMPTON COAL-FIELD,* 

FOLLOWED BY A SKETCH PROVING THE LICKEY QUARTZ ROCK TO BE OF THE 
SAME AGE AS THE CARADOC SANDSTONE. 

By Roderick Impey Murckison, Esq., F.G.S., V.P.R.S. 

The author having previously shown that the coal-field extending from Dud- 
ley into the adjacent parts of Staffordshire is surrounded and overlaid by the lower 
member of the new red sandstone, laid before the Society an Ordnance map, geo- 
logically coloured, and then proceeded to give, 1st, A. general sketch of the struc- 
ture of the coal-field in descending order : 2ndly, Detailed accounts of the Silu- 
rian rocks which protrude through the coal measures or lie beneath them : 3rdly, 
A sketch of the quartz rocks of the Lickey : 4thly, A description of the trap 
rocks : 5thly, General remarks upon the dislocation of the stratified deposits ; and 
the dependence of these phenomena upon the intrusion of trap rocks. 

1. Coal measures. — In most parts of the productive coal-field the coal mea- 
sures are covered by a considerable quantity of detritus, the greater part of which 
has been derived from the breaking up of the new red sandstone which once 
overspread this tract, with which are mixed, especially in the northern part of the 
field, a few boulders of northern origin and some from the surrounding region. 

General and detailed sections are then given of the regular succession of the 
carboniferous strata ; for the greater part of which in the neighbourhood of Dud- 
ley, and for much valuable information, Mr. Murchison expresses great obliga- 
tion to Mr. Downing ; the best sections of the Wolverhampton field having been 
afforded by Mr. J. Barker. The principal points of novelty consist in drawing a 

* The following Paper, which was read before the Geological Society of London, on the 
11th of May, is published with the permission of the author. — Ed. 
VOL. I. Q 



114 

clear distinction between the upper or thicker measures, which contain the ten- 
yard coal, generally known as the Dudley coal, and the underlying carbonaceous 
strata, or ironstone measures. The latter, rising from beneath the ten-yard coal, 
range to the N.N.E. from Wednesbury and Bilston, in a long tract between the 
parallels of Walsall and Wolverhampton, extending to Cannock Chace. At the 
southern end of the field, emerging from beneath the ten-yard coal, they occupy 
the district between Stourbridge and Hales Owen, containing the well-known 
" fire clay ;" though some of the most valuable of the Wolverhampton iron-stones, 
beneath those called the " New Mine," are here wanting, viz. the " Gubbins," 
and " Blue Flats." This poverty in the lower coal measures extends over all the 
district south of Dudley. In the northern and southern end of the district, these 
lower measures represent the whole carboniferous system ; and in various natural 
sections near the Hagley and Clent hills, the author has detected them, in very 
feeble bands, passing upwards and conformably into the lower new red sandstone. 
Besides the open works formerly alluded to by him in previous memoirs, Mr. M. 
now states, that his former conjectures respecting the passage of the ten-yard coal 
beneath the new red sandstone which flanks it on the east and west, have been 
verified by the efforts of the Earl of Dartmouth, who, after sinking to a depth of 
151 yards through strata of the lower new red sandstone, has very recently suc- 
ceeded by further borings, carried down to the depth of 290 yards, in discovering 
the one-foot, two-foot, and " Brooch" coal seams, which overlie the ten-yard coal 
throughout the Dudley field. These operations have taken place at Christchurch, 
one mile beyond the superficial boundary of the coal field. 

Besides the plants so common in all carboniferous tracts, the author has ob- 
served the presence of animal organic remains. Unio3 of several species are 
abundant ; and in the northern or lower part of the field he has extracted frag- 
ments of fishes, which have been named by Professor Agassiz, Megalichihys 
Hibbertii, M. Sauroides, and Diptodus gibbus ; together with scales, coprolites, 
&c, proving an identity between the animals deposited in these coal measures and 
those of Edinburgh, described by Dr. Hibbert. The same species, it will be 
recollected, have been pointed out by Sir Philip Egerton, as occurring in the N. 
Staffordshire coal-field, and one of them has been observed by Mr. Prestwich in 
the coal-field of Coalbrook Dale. Mr. Murchison, however, remarks that he has 
not yet observed any marine remains in these coal measures similar to those of 
Coalbrook Dale ; and nothing yet found can invalidate the inference that the coal 
of Dudley and Wolverhampton may have been accumulated exclusively in fresh 
water, 

b. Silurian rocks. — The mountain or carboniferous limestone and the old red 
sandstone, which in so many other parts of England form the support of coal tracts, 
being wanting, this field reposes directly on rocks which Mr. Murchison proves to 
consist of the two upper members of the Silurian system, viz., the " Ludlow 



115 

rocks," and " Wenlock limestone."* As, however, these rocks rise up irregu- 
larly, like separate islands, through the surrounding coal measures, and not in 
their regular order of superposition, so it was obviously impracticable to have 
determined their relative age by any local evidences ; and hence no attempts 
could have been made to distinguish the younger from the older deposits, until the 
structure and organic remains of the different members of the Silurian system had 
been fairly worked out in other districts, where these types were fully and clearly 
displayed in their regular order. 

2. Ludlow rocks. — These rocks appear at the surface in three detached 
points in this coal-field, viz., Sedgeley, Turner's Hill, and the Hayes. At Sedge- 
ley they are thrown up in an elongated ellipse, very much resembling a large 
inverted ship, of which Sedgeley Beacon, 630 feet above the sea, may be consider- 
ed as the keel. The upper Ludlow rock, though not thick, is plainly marked by 
containing the Laptcena lata, the Serpula gigantea, &c, and by overlying a 
limestone which is in every respect identical with that of Aymestrey or the middle 
member of the Ludlow rocks, presenting the same lithological structure, i. e. a 
dull argillaceous grey limestone, which among other well-known shells, such as 
the Terebratula Wilsoni and the Lingula, contains also the beautiful Pentame- 
rus Knightii so entirely peculiar to this stratum. As at Ludlow and Aymestrey, 
this limestone of Sedgeley, known here as the " black limestone," forms an excel- 
lent cement under water. 

Turner's Hill, a small elevation between Gornals and Himley, is composed of 
Ludlow rocks ; and the Hayes is a narrow short tongue of the same, with a cen- 
tral baud of limestone, which rises at a high angle from beneath the coal mea» 
sures, on the main road from Stourbridge to Hales Owen, a portion of the lower. 
Ludlow rock being also well exposed. 

2a. Wenlock limestone. — This limestone formation is much more largely 
developed than that of the Ludlow rocks, constituting several ellipsoidal masses 
near the town of Dudley, which have been long worked and extensively known 
among collectors, from the number and beauty of their organic remains. Hence 
the rock has been usually termed the " Dudley limestone." As, however, it was 
impossible to have ascertained in this district the relative age of these rocks, their 
different members being independently in contact with the coal measures, the nor 
menclature of the Silurian system already selected is adhered to, because in 
Shropshire the Wenlock limestone, in its fullest standard, rises out regularly from 
beneath the Ludlow rocks, and the latter passing beneath the old red sandstone 
and carboniferous limestone (both of which are wanting at Dudley) complete the 
proofs required. The author, therefore, entreats geologists not to employ the 

* There is one spot, however, within the author's knowledge where the underground 
works reached a thick mass of red shale or marl beneath the coal-field ; but the works hav-. 
ing been long abandoned, no correct knowledge of these red rocks can be now obtained. 

q2 



116 

term Dudley limestone, except as the synonym of Wenlock, with which he pro- 
ceeds to show its lithological and geological identity. This limestone is described 
in detail at the Castle Hill, Wren's Nest, and Hurst Hill, in all of which it forms 
ellipsoidal elevated masses, 500 to 650 feet high, protruding through the coal 
measures in lines parallel to similarly shaped masses of Ludlow rock at Sedgeley, 
&c; i. e., tending from 10° E. of N., to 10° W. of S. Two strong bands of 
limestone occur in these hills, overlaid and separated from each other by shale, 
charged with numerous small concretions of impure limestone, the " bavin" of the 
workmen. The limestone having been quarried out from these bands, which have 
been raised up from a common centre, and disposed with a quaquaversal dip at 
high angles, it is evident that the hills themselves would ere now have been demo- 
lished, had they been composed throughout of calcareous masses of equal purity ; 
but the " bavin" or refuse composes the framework of these perforated hills, and 
preserves their outline. The Wenlock shale, or underlying part of the formation, 
constitutes the nucleus of the Wren's Nest, the largest and most perfect of these 
ellipsoids, and of this the author gives a detailed plan. These ellipsoids usually 
feather off at one extremity with a broken-down margin, and thus complete their 
resemblance in physical features to ancient craters of eruption.* The greatest 
superficial extent of the Wenlock formation is in the neighbourhood of Walsall, 
where it rises both in dome-shaped masses and in rectilinear ridges, running from 
S.S.W. to N.N.E., parallel to the axis of the Wolverhampton coal-field, of which 
one of these ridges forms the eastern boundary, the limestone plunging beneath 
the coal-field at a rapid angle. The other ridge is continuous with the new red 
sandstone of the Bar-beacon, and is known as the Hey Head lime. In the Dud- 
ley, or ten-yard coal tract, few works have yet proceeded downwards beneath the 
lower coals, and hence the subjacent Silurian rocks are little known to the miners. 
A remarkable and accidental discovery of a mass of limestone took place recently, 
near Dudley Port, on the rise side of a great fault, which bounds the downcast of 
the coal, called " Dudley Trough." Having worked out the coal on the upcast 
side, a shaft was sunk in and upon the southern side of this fault, when, at a depth 
of 208 yards, and about 100 yards below the exhausted coal strata, a mass of lime- 
stone was met with, which proved to be near seven yards thick, and of very good 
crystalline quality. Being found to extend in a form more or less horizontal, ex- 
tensive works were promptly opened in it for the extraction of a rock so precious 
in the heart of the coal-field. When the author visited it, a considerable cavity 
had been formed, in which no trace of moisture was discernible, whilst it was 
known- that copious streams of water were flowing in the coal measures overhead. 
He accounts for this mass of limestone being hermetically excluded from the per- 

* See account of Valley of Woolhope for similar phenomena on a larger scale, and with 
a greater number of concentric and enveloping formations. — Proceedings Geol. Soc., vol. ii., 
p. 15. 



117 

eolation of water, by the impervious nature of the Silurian shale which separates 
the coal measures from the limestone, and by the shafts being sunk in the fault 
itself, which, like other lines of fissure, is filled up with clay and other materials, 
so closely compacted as to form complete dams to water. At the north-western 
edge of the subterranean excavation, the fault was stripped, and the materials of 
which it is composed having thinned out, the limestone was found in contact 
with a bed of coal, the edges of which appeared bent, both the coal and the lime- 
stone having a slick ensides polish. By boring through the limestone, a second 
calcareous stratum was found, thus completing the proofs of identity between this 
underground mass and that which rises to the surface in the hills of Dudley Castle 
and the Wren's Nest. 

In the northern or Wolverhampton field, where the whole of the coal mea- 
sures, even to beneath the lowest beds of ironstone, (the blue flats), are traversed 
by shafts not exceeding 120 yards in depth, the field has been proved at several 
points to rest on shale and impure limestone, the equivalents of the Ludlow and 
Wenlock formations. For lists of the fossils in this group of Upper Silurian 
rocks, the author refers to previous memoirs, announcing that more perfect lists 
will shortly be laid before the public in his large work upon the Silurian system. 

3. Lickey Quartz rock, Caradoc sandstone, (Lower Silurian rocks).—' 
Dr. Buckland first called the attention of geologists to the Lickey quartz rock ;* 
and, showing that it had been one of the principal magazines of the quartz peb- 
bles in the new red sandstone and diluvium of the southern counties, he further 
compared it with certain rocks in situ in the neighbourhood of the Wrekin. The 
Rev. J. Yates has also clearly described the lithological structure of this rock, and 
has briefly touched upon some of its fossils.-]- Mr. Murchison undertakes to prove 
the true geological position of these rocks. He shows that they lie in the direct 
prolongation of the Silurian rocks of Dudley, and that, being partially flanked and 
covered by thin patches of coal, they emerge through a surrounding area of the 
lower new red sandstone and calcareous red conglomerate (described in previous 
memoirs). Unlike, however, the succession in the Dudley field, there are here 
no traces of the Ludlow rock and Aymestrey limestone. Nor are there masses of 
any size of the Wenlock limestone ; but shreds only of the shale or lower part of 
this formation, with some of its well-recognised fossils (Colmers). 

The lower Silurian rocks rise from beneath the Wenlock shale in thin courses 
of bastard limestone, alternating with red and green courses of sandstone and 
shale, the equivalents of those bands which, at various places in Shropshire and at 
Woolhope in Herefordshire, constitute the top of the formation of Caradoc sand- 

* Transactions Gcol. Soc, 1st Series, vol. v., p. 507. 
■f Transactions Geol. Soc, 2nd Series, vol. iL, p. 137- 



118 

stones. Like these, they are here underlaid by flag-like sandstones, sometimes 
rather more argillaceous and approaching to clay slate, the whole passing down into 
silicious sandstones, both thick and thin bedded. In the latter are casts of sever- 
al fossils of the Caradoc formation, such as Pentameri of two species, and corals 
peculiar to it. These fossiliferous strata are well exposed on the eastern side of 
the hills by recent cuttings, where the new road from Bromsgrove to Birmingham 
traverses the ridge. The ridge itself, however, consists essentially of quartz rock, 
which the author shows is nothing more than altered Caradoc sandstone, precisely 
analogous to that which he has on former occasions pointed out on the flanks of 
Caer Caradoc, the Wrekin, Stiper Stones, &c. In those districts the passage 
from a fossiliferous sandstone to a pure quartz rock has been accounted for by the 
latter being in absolute contact with eruptive masses of igneous origin ; and here 
it is suggested that the same cause may have operated, though the contact is not 
visible, because the line of quartz rock is precisely upon the prolongation of the 
trappean axis of the Rowley Hills, whilst the southern end of the parallel outburst 
of the Clent Hills is but little distant. Notwithstanding their highly altered con- 
dition, it is shown that all the quartz rocks throughout this ridge of low hills are 
uniformly stratified, the dip being either to the E.N.E. or W.S.W., i. e. at right 
angles to the direction ; and the parallelopipedal fragments into which the rock 
breaks are shown to be produced by fissures more or less at right angles to the 
planes of stratification ; these fissures being so numerous where the mass is much 
altered, as almost to obscure the true laminae of deposit. 

4. Trap. — The composition and characters of the trap rocks and basaltic 
masses of the Rowley Hills are first described, together with the manner in which 
they are supposed to rise through and cut off the coal upon their flanks. Rocks 
of similar origin occur at various detached points to the west of Dudley, of which 
Barrow Hill is the principal, affording the most convincing proofs of the volcanic 
mass having burst through the carboniferous strata, since the latter are not only 
highly disturbed and broken, but fragments of coal and coal measures, in highly 
altered conditions, are found twisted up upon the sides, and even mixed with the 
trap itself. In the Wolverhampton or northern coal-field, the chief vent of erup- 
tion is at Pouk Hill, two miles west of Walsall, where the greenstone is arranged 
in fan-shaped columns. After pointing out distinct evidences of the intrusion of 
similar rocks at Bentley Forge and the Birch Hills, in some of the old open 
works near which the trap is seen to overlie the coal, the author gives various sec- 
tions of subterranean works, which prove the existence of greenstone, in bands 
more or less horizontal. As these bands of trap have jagged edges, are of limited 
extent, of exceeding irregularity in thickness, and often produce great alteration 
upon the inclosing carbonaceous masses, the author has no hesitation in expressing 
his belief that they are not true beds, but simply wedges of injected matter which 



119 

have issued from central foci, and have been intruded laterally amid the coal 
strata ; an opinion formerly expressed by Mr. A. Aikin in an able memoir.* 

Although these lateral masses of greenstone in the Wolverhampton field are 
of origin posterior to the accumulation of coal strata, the author does not deny 
that the tufaceous conglomerates of Hales Owen, which have a strong analogy in 
composition to a certain class of volcanic grits described in former memoirs, may 
have been formed contemporaneously with the carboniferous deposits. 

The trap of the Clent Hills is then briefly described, and is shown to be iden- 
tical with that of the Abberley Hills, also mentioned in previous memoirs. 

5. Principal lines of dislocation. — The whole of this carboniferous tract has 
been upcast through a cover of new red sandstone, the lower members of which 
are frequently found to have been dislocated conformably with the inferior carbon- 
aceous masses, proving (as formerly expressed by Mr. Murchison) that some of 
the greatest of these movements took place subsequently to the deposits of the 
red sandstone. In describing the faults along the boundary of the new red sand- 
stone, he directs particular attention to that of Wolverhampton, where the coal 
measures dip slightly inwardsirom the line of fissure, along which they are conter- 
minous with the overlying strata, a fact, perhaps, without parallel in this or the 
adjacent coal-fields (including Coalbrook Dale), the usual phenomena being that, 
however disrupted, the carbonaceous or upcast strata always incline outwards, as 
if they would pass eventually beneath the lower new red sandstone on their flanks. 
This exception is supposed to have been caused by the upheaving of a subjacent 
mass of Silurian or trap rocks close to the edge of the line of fault. 

Having next described the effect of the great longitudinal faults produced by 
the upcast of the Wenlock limestone of Walsall, he shows that the subterranean 
mass at Dudley Port, is upon the same parallel, i. e. from N. E. to S.W., if not 
directly on the same line of fissure. This line of eruption is strongly marked on 
both edges of the northern half of the coal-field extending to Cannock Chace. 

Another great axis of elevation which affects the Dudley field, diverges at a 
considerable angle from the former. It is prominently marked by the line of the 
Rowley Hills, and after concealment for a certain distance beneath the red sand- 
stone to the S. of Hales Owen, re-appears in the ridge of the Lickey quartz rock. 
The lofty trappean ridge of the Clent Hills is parallel to this last-mentioned axis. 
It is further pointed out as remarkable that at the angle formed by the confluence 
of these diverging lines of elevation, the Silurian or fundamental rocks of the tract 
are raised in inflated ellipsoidal forms from common centres, the strata having a 
quaquaversal dip, in one case completing the outlines of a very perfect valley of 
elevation. The author infers that such curvatures are exactly what might be ex- 
pected at the point of greatest flexure in the axis of the coal-field, where the volca- 

• Transactions Gcol. Soc, 1st Series, vol. iii., p. 251. 



120 

nic matter, unable to find issue, has produced these inflated masses. There are 
numberless faults in this coal-field to which no reference is made, it being stated 
that much additional labour is required to give a complete history of them ; but 
attention is called to the Birch Hill, Lanesfield, and Barrow Hill faults, which are 
the principal transverse faults, and which the author conceives may be explained 
upon the principles of the theory of Mr. Hopkins, or as cross fractures which 
have resulted from elevation of the coal-field en masse. 

The memoir concludes with referring to the importance of one of the problems 
to which the author has been directing public attention during the last few years, 
viz., the probable extension of carboniferous tracts of the central counties beneath 
the surrounding new red sandstone ; and he rejoices that the deductions which 
necessarily follow from his observations in this and the adjacent coal-fields, have 
recently been so ably supported by the masterly observations of Mr. Prestwich 
upon Coalbrook Dale, with whose opinions he entirely coincides. 

The quantity, therefore, of unwrought coal beneath the new red sandstone of 
Shropshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, &c, though previously omitted in sta- 
tistical data, must form an element in all calculations concerning the probable 
duration of the carboniferous wealth of the empire. 



NOTES OF A BOTANIST. 



Medicinal Plants applied to Vegetation. 

There is an expression used by Gardeners ; namely, that " plants draw up 
plants," which would seem to indicate that plants do reciprocally affect each other, 
and that the fact is admitted. A gentleman once told me that a choice exotic, 
exposed sub die, flowered in winter, and though surprised by frost, suffered no 
injury; but this resistance he attributed to a dose of brandy which he administer- 
ed to the plant ! Be this as it may, there is one extraordinary fact which I have 
verified by direct experiment : I had read somewhere of the sanative or healing 
effects of Chamomile on some particular plants ; but I confess I treated the state- 
ment as fanciful. The remarkable effects of the revivification of a plant, appa- 
rently dying, by placing two small pots of Chamomile beneath its branches, and 
pointed out to me in a gentleman's garden at Leicester, induced me to apply the 
curious remedy to several plants, as China Roses, a shrubby Calceolaria and 



121 



Malva, &c, all sickly and apparently dying ; I however succeeded in restoring 
every one of them to health and vigour. It is also a very curious circumstance 
that the Chamomile is materially affected, and suffers in its turn ; indeed generally 
dies. Some systematic action supervenes, and the question is altogether one, not 
merely curious in itself, but promises a new field of observation. How far other 
odoriferous or medicinal herbs, as Feverfew, Sage, Tansy, &c, may affect particu- 
lar plants, it would certainly be interesting to inquire. 

Plants sometimes Plant their own Seeds* 

This is emphatically the case with the Arachis hypogcea, or " ground nut." 
When the seed is fully formed, and partly mature, the branches which clutch the 
seed-vessels begin to curve toward the earth ; and in process of time the pod disap- 
pears, having been forced into the earth by the plant, where it lies buried, there to 
vegetate at a depth of about one to two inches. This plant, therefore, provides for 
its perpetuity in a singular manner ; the offspring is kept at home, and not suffered 
to wander vagabond, or the seeds become like other seeds, " as a rolling thing 
before the whirlwind." The chances of the breeze are, in this case, deprived of 
their prey. I have watched this curious provision in the Arachis hypogcea with 
much interest. In the Nasturtium something similar may be observed : the spi- 
ral coils contiguous to the seeds seem concerned in the office of immuring them, 
which may occasionally be noticed to penetrate a sandy soil. This phenomenon, 
however, is more apparent in the Cyclamen, where the seeds will often disappear 
about the period of their maturity, the plant having hidden them in the earth, and 
the coils may be sometimes observed to form a complete plexus or sheath round 
the seed-pod. 

Plants sometimes Water their own Roots. 

The most remarkable example of this extraordinary phenomenon, occurs in the 
Raining or Fountain Tree, or the Spartium nubigenum ? in Ferro, one of the 
Canary Islands, forming the only source of water in the whole Island, and at 
which living stream all are supplied, " themselves, their little ones, and their cat- 
tle." The water is dispensed to the inhabitants by the insular authorities. In 
this case, the atmospheric aqueous vapour is condensed by the branches and foliage, 
and trickles from them into the excavation at the base of the tree, said to be 
allied to the Laurus indica. Of the same description is the Cobea pluviosa of 
the American Continent, and another in the same hemisphere, of which we have 
only an imperfect account, but said on the slightest touch to emit a copious 
shower. 

There are other plants, however, which are supplied with a distillatory appara- 

VOL. I. R 



122 



tus connected with their organization, for they are true alembics. The stem of a 
particular kind of Bamboo, and also of a Cissus, or wild Vine, have been found 
charged with limpid and wholesome water, grateful to the weary and thirsty tra- 
veller. In these last, it is obvious the liquid is an elaboration of the plant. This, 
too, is the case with the Agapanthus umbellatus, or African Lily, which often 
distils water from its gracefully pendant leaves ; and in one instance this distilla- 
tion was so copious during the night, as nearly to destroy a work-box, accidentally 
left beneath its foliage : hence the intention is obviously to enable the plant to 
water its own roots. It belongs to the parched and sandy desert of Africa. The 
Calla cethiopica is another instance of the same kind : it is a native of the Cape. 
We almost esteem it as a half-aquatic ; and yet it is found a denizen of the desert 
— its natal soil an arid sand. I am informed, however, that an individual who 
communicated the fact, and brought a magnificent specimen to this country, which 
I have seen, has found this plant where the ground around it was as wet as if it 
had been saturated with a heavy dew or a gentle shower of rain. The Calla 
wthiopica, like its congener, the Agapanthus umbellatus, distils water from the 
tips of its leaves, and in both cases the process takes place during the night. 

Not the least singular among the phenomena of the vegetation of the desert, 
is the existence of succulent plants ; precisely where we should least of all expect 
to find them ; such as the Cactuses, Mesembryanthemums, and the Stapelias ; 
the last of these being emphatically called " the Vegetable Camel." The curious 
berry met with by Mr. Campbell, in the desert, full of limpid water, and which 
some little mice were observed to treasure up in their retreats, will also be remem- 
bered, and suggest a train of singular and useful reflections. 

But the most curious of all is, certainly, the Tillandsia, or Water Withe, of 
Jamaica, belonging to the curious tribe of Epiphytes — dwellers on trees, though 
they do not live upon their kind, like parasites. The Tillandsias are associated 
in their port and habit with the Bromelias and Silbergias. The Tillandsia has 
what may be called a hollow stem ; it is, in fact, a tank or cistern, formed by the 
leaves which overlap each other in an imbricated arrangement, and in ordinary 
conditions of the atmosphere constitutes an envelope alike impervious to air and 
moisture. This tank catches and retains the condensed dews — very copious in 
tropical countries — or the early and latter rains, retaining the supply when that 
which falls upon the ground is promptly absorbed by the thirsty and porous soil. 
Here, then, is a living well where insects and birds may slake their thirst, and 
quadrumana and others among the Scansores may apply to as containing a cool 
and refreshing beverage. So far there is much to admire in the beneficent pro- 
vision : but the tale of interest is not half unfolded. In Earl Fitzwilliam's exten- 
sive conservatories, at Wentworth House, there were two plants of the Tillandsia, 
and being in different compartments were subjected to varied temperature. In the 
one, the temperature of the external atmosphere was 71° Fah., and in the other 



123 

8 degrees higher. I was surprised, however, as well as delighted to find that the 
temperature of the water in the " stem" in both cases was 68° Fah. It is obvious, 
therefore, that this equable temperature, of which the plant must necessarily par- 
take, is maintained by the equal ratio of evaporation, which will necessarily cor- 
respond with the measure of temperature in the atmospheric medium. It is thus 
that the plant will possess a medium temperature amid the vicissitudes and transi- 
tions of a fluctuating clime ; having a remarkable correspondence with that com- 
pensation by which the animal machine is enabled to maintain a temperature of 
98°, whether traversing the snows of Lapland, or the sands of Nigritia. The 
overshadowing foliage of the tree, among the branches of which the Tillandsia 
takes up its abode, will contribute to the check of the cooling effects of radiation. 
There is, however, another fact, which I have experimentally ascertained, still 
more wonderful : as soon as the external air becomes dry and parched, the leaves, 
previously even air-tight at their junction, relax and open, and the water may be 
seen to trickle down the stem to moisten the roots. The Tillandsia, therefore, 
literally waters its own roots. 

Opening and Shutting of Flowers. 

At first sight, these phenomena would appear perplexed and somewhat difficult 
of solution ; but, in some cases at least, I have found that the question may be 
determined by experiments. The characteristic feature of the opening and shut- 
ting of the flower, is its dependence on hygrometry — the moisture or dryness of 
the atmosphere. Towards evening, the flowers of the Ranunculus acris and 
Daisy gradually close and droop. The Anagallis arvensis is specially sensible of 
the coming shower, and multitudes among the numerous tribes of vegetation obey 
the same law, and must be familiar to all, — for instance, the blossom of Esch- 
scholtzia californica. If the common Everlastings, or the flowers of the Xeran- 
themum lucidum or proligerum, the Gnaphalium faetidum, or the shrubby Gna- 
phaliums of the Cape, the Ammobium alatum, and others be plunged into cold 
water, they will slowly close ; but when immersed into hot water, the petals 
instantaneously collapse. When the moisture evaporates in a dry and warm 
atmosphere, these flowers will as regularly open — experiments which I have often 
repeated with all of them ; and so far the question seems sufficiently clear, namely, 
that the opening of the blossom is connected with a warm and dry state of the 
atmosphere, and its closure with a humid condition of the ambient air. 

But " non fades omnibus una;" there are not only exceptions, but the cases 
are numerous. When many plants go to sleep, some there are just awake ; of 
this description is the Evening Primrose and its nocturnal associates. The Cereus 
grandiflora, and Stelis micraniha are exotics of a kindred character. So that 
beings are wakeful during the ordinary season of repose, both in the animal and 

r2 



124 

vegetable kingdom. The physiology of these nocturnal flowers, it is evident, must 
be of a different character from those that unfold by day and repose at night. 
We have parallel phenomena which may be adverted to and adduced in illustra- 
tion ; and, as in the cases previously cited, may be made the subject of direct ex- 
periment. If an orbicular mass of the Lycopodiurn circinale be introduced into 
warm water it will unfold. The same thing occurs with the seed-vessel of the 
Fig-marigold ( Mesevnbryanthemum ) of the Cape when put in water. In the lat- 
ter case, the seed-vessel expands, and the seeds are scattered when moistened with 
the tropical rains, and under circumstances which ensure the germination of the 
seeds. That curious plant, the Rose of Jericho^ ( Hierochuntica anastatica ) , 
which inhabits the borders of the wilderness or the desert, is constructed with a 
similar design, and presents analogous phenomena ; for the same agency that shuts 
the flower of the Xeranthemwm, and closes the imbricated calix of the Centurea 
montana, contrariwise unlocks its tiny branches. Accordingly, when it is intro- 
duced into warm water, a little above the junction of the branches with the stem, 
these branches gradually open, — another feature of the same beneficent arrange- 
ment apparent " in the length and breadth" of creation. The blast of the desert 
uproots the tiny plant, and flings it on the waves of the Nile or the Red Sea — 
the branches open and scatter the seeds that they previously enclosed on the sur- 
face of the stream, where they can alone germinate. In the meanwhile the 
withered plant is carried towards the Delta of the Nile, or the embouchure of the 
Red Sea ; and having fulfilled its office and provided for the perpetuity of its 
kind, is engulphed in the ocean. The little seeds, floating hither and thither, bud 
and begin to grow ; the wave at length lands them on the banks of the river, and 
a friendly breeze wafts them back to the soil of their ancestry, where they take 
root and spring up under the influence of tropical dews by which they are refresh- 
ed every night. I have a specimen of the Rose of Jericho, a great part of a cen- 
tury old, which has not lost its- susceptibility of opening when introduced into warm 
water. 

My next communications will embrace the subjects of " The Vital Principle 
in Plants," " Monphology," and " Spontaneous Production." 

J. Murray. 



ON THE CIRCULATION IN THE INVERTEBRATA. 
By Langston Parker. 

All animals possess a series of organs by which the fluids which are the 
product of digestion are distributed to the various parts of the body, to serve the 
purposes of nutrition and support. The sum of the actions of these organs is 
termed circulation ; and the aggregate of parts by which it is performed, the vas- 
cular system. In the whole animal series the organs of circulation are infinitely 
varied, bearing a strict relation to the degree the animal holds in the scale of 
being, to its mode of life, and the number of internal organs it possesses. In the 
lower animals, we find their bodies everywhere impregnated with fluids which are 
not contained in distinct canals, but pervade every part. In a higher grade, the 
fluids are contained in distinct canals ; in the course of these canals are situated, 
in certain classes, organs which receive and propel the circulating fluids, for the 
purpose of giving them an activity and force of movement not impressed upon 
them by their mere containing vessels. In vertebrate animals, these organs are 
termed hearts, and are variable in the four orders of vertebrate animals in their 
number, their situation, and mode of action. In this paper I shall notice the dis- 
position of the vascular system, and the peculiarities of the circulation in the inver- 
tebrate classes of animals ; tracing them from the simple Zoophyte through the 
numerous families of molluscous and articulated animals, which are comprehend- 
ed in the system of Linneus, in the two grand classes of insects and worms, and 
by Cuvier in the three classes of articulata,* mollusca,f and radiata.^ 

In the zoophytes there is no true circulating system. In the infusoria, polypes, 
and the inhabitants of corals and sponges, the uniform gelatinous granular mass of 
which the body is composed, is universally impregnated with fluids, and the func- 
tions of composition and decomposition, in the opinion of Carus, are performed by 
mere elective attraction and repulsion dependant on organic laws. In the medusae,§ 
echinodermata||, andholothuriae,^ a rudimentary class of vessels has been described 
by Cuvier, which opening from the intestines, pass either towards the organs of 
respiration, or towards the surface of the body, which in these instances is probably 
a respiratory organ as the skin is, in some degree, in certain reptiles. 

* Animals in which the general envelope of the body is divided, by transverse folds, into 
a certain number of rings. 

■f Animals with a soft contractile skin, destitute, as the articulata, of a skeleton. 

X In which the organs of motion are disposed as radii round a centre. 

§ Sea-blubber. 

|| Prickly-skinned zoophytes ; from 1%!**, a hedgehog, and St^«, the skin. 

% The Portuguese man of war. 



126 

In the acephalous* mollusca we have distinct organs of respiration, in the 
shape of rudimentary gills, and into these organs the veins returning the blood 
from the body enter. From the gills the blood is sent to the heart, and thence to 
the body at large, from whence it is again returned to the gills or organs of respi- 
ration. In the ascidiae there is but one sac, which fulfils the office of a heart ; 
in the teredo navalis there are four : the whole order of acephalous mollusca pre- 
sent great varieties in the number of hearts, as also in their form and position. 
The teredines alone have red blood, probably owing to the excessive stimulus 
required by the muscles which move the boring shells. In molluscous animals 
generally, the circulation is double ; the blood passing through the gills, or lungs, 
or whatever name the respiratory organ may bear, as well as through the body. 
The passage of the blood through the body is assisted by a muscular heart placed 
in the course of the blood ; the heart is generally single and aortic, that is, the 
single ventricle sends the blood to the body, after having received it from the or- 
gans of respiration : the circulation of fishes, on the contrary, is different, though 
performed by a single heart, which is termed pulmonary, because it receives the 
blood from the body and transmits it to the lungs. When the heart is single and 
sends the blood first to the lungs, it is termed pulmonary ; when the fluid is trans- 
mitted first to the body, it is termed aortic. The veins in the cephalopodousf 
orders of mollusca have numerous glandular appendages, which appear to absorb 
fluids from the abdomen and pass them to the blood. 

The annelidae;): have an arterial and venous circulation, consisting of a central 
dorsal vessel, which is the artery, and two lateral vessels, which are veins ; there 
are no hearts placed in the course or centre of the circulation ; the movement of 
the nutritive fluid is extremely slow, and performed either by the power of its con- 
taining vessels, or the pressure of the surrounding parts. In these animals the 
blood is uniformly red but does not exceed in temperature the medium in which 
they live. In the crustaceae there is an elongated sac upon the dorsal surface of 
the body, which is the heart ; this organ which receives the blood from the organs 
of respiration and propels it to the body, approaches in its appearance the dorsal 
vessel of insects ; it is, in fact, merely a dilated vessel, of which the coats are 
thicker and more powerful than those of the other parts of the circulating system. 

In the arachnidae§ the circulation does not differ materially from the crustaceae, 
the function is performed by a dorsal vessel, which is a rudimentary heart sending 
out blood vessels which are arteries, and receiving others which are veins. 

* Mollusca without apparent head, which is concealed under the mantle in the centre 
of the body. 

•f- In which the organs of motion, feet or tentaculse, are supported by the head. 

$ Red-blooded worms. 

§ The Spider genus, differing from the Insecta in many particulars, and forming the 
third class of articulated animals in the Regne Animal, of Cuyier. 



127 

If the back of the silk-worm be attentively examined, we shall observe upon it 
a dark coloured line continually in a state of oscillatory movement. This organ is 
analagous to the heart of other animals ; and although much discussion has arisen 
among naturalists, with regard to its nature and use, the researches of Carus have 
established beyond doubt, that it is the central organ of the circulation, and both 
sends out and receives fluids. Cuvier considered the dorsal vessel of insects as 
the mere rudiment or vestige of a heart, and supposed that nutrition was effected 
by mere imbibition, as in the lower orders of zoophytes. That a distinct passage 
of fluids from the dorsal vessel does, however, take place, is certain, from the mi- 
croscopic researches of Carus, which were first made known to the German natu- 
ralists in 1826. The first observations of Carus were made upon the larva of the 
Agrion Puella ;* subsequently upon that of the Ephemera Vulgata, and at length 
upon many insects, both in the larva and imago state. In the first mentioned insect 
which swims with great velocity by means of three vertical laminae attached to the 
caudal extremity of the body, and in which there are at first no traces even of the 
rudiments of wings, Professor Carus found the blood entering by single globules 
from the dorsal vessel into the caudal lamina?, passing through them and return- 
ing again to the central organ of the circulation. These laminae are composed of 
a granular substance (resembling boiled sago) enveloped by folds of the common 
covering of the body. Into this granular substance the blood passes by single glo- 
bules, which are not contained in distinct vessels, but form for themselves a pas- 
sage through the homogeneous structure of the body. The path or channel thus 
formed in the midst of the granular substance is perfectly transparent ; its sides 
are not strictly defined, nor formed by any thing like the coats of a vessel. This 
extra vascular circulation in the permanent state in insects, is found to exist in the 
embryo state, at the first commencement of organization, in many of the higher 
classes of animals ; thus the first appearance of circulation in the incubated egg is 
the movement of a few red globules at points separate from each other, when, 
as yet, no vessels are formed.-f- In the aquatic " ephemera vulgata" the circula- 
tion is distinctly visible, with the microscope, in the three last segments of the 
body, in the upper phalanges of the legs, in the head, and in the posterior roots of 
the antennae ; it consists, as in the Agrion Puella, of two streams, an excurrent 
and a returning one ; the blood passing through the various parts of the granular 
substance of the body, unconfined in vessels resembling either arteries or veins. 
In 1827, M. Carus discovered the circulation in the fully-developed insect, and 
subsequently Ehrenberg and Hemprich, travellers in Africa, have observed similar 
currents of blood in the wings of a Mantis. 

• A species of Dragon-fly. 

■f For a full and most interesting account of the formation of the ovum in various ani- 
mals, and the development of its several structures, see Breschet's translation into French 
of the German work of Baer — Sur la Formation de FCEuf. Paris, 1829. 



128 

In reviewing, for a moment, the disposition of the organs of circulation in those 
classes of invertebrate animals we have noticed, we shall find the confirmation of 
a law in the formation of the internal organs of animals which has been noticed 
and promulgated by Serres, Geoffrey-St.-Hilaire, and Meckel ; viz., that the vari- 
ous degrees of development which an animal, high in the scale of being, passes 
through from the first moment of conception to a period of full maturity, corres- 
pond to the permanent states of development in the lower grades of the animal 
series. Thus, in relation to the vascular system, we find at first but one system of 
vessels in the embryo. This condition of the vascular system resembles the per- 
fect state of these organs in the medusae and other zoophytes which have but one 
system of vessels ; and the resemblance is the more striking, since in both in- 
stances, the vessels are not distinct from the general mass of the body. At a 
more advanced stage of development, the central organ of the circulation presents 
a mere dilated oblong canal, hardly possessing muscularity. In this stage we have 
the analogy with the greater part of the annelidae, or red-blooded worms, where 
the heart is a mere dilated tube. In the arachnidae and some Crustacea;, the heart 
is a thin elongated sac, from the extremities of which the blood-vessels arise. In 
the primitive state of the development of the heart in higher animals, there exists 
but one dilatation, as in the arachnidae and Crustacea?, when perfect. In a sub- 
sequent degree of development, where a second dilatation is produced by the sepa- 
ration of the auricles, or receiving cavities of the heart, from the general system of 
veins returning the blood, we have the analogy of the embryo state of the higher 
animals with the perfect formation of the mollusca, fish, and the lowest orders of 
reptiles. 

We shall trace the remaining analogies between these states, when speaking, 
in a subsequent paper, of the circulation in vertebrate animals. At present we 
have followed it as far as the invertebrate classes will permit us. 



LEECHES. 



It is stated by Mr. Gay, in a letter from Chili, that Leeches there inhabit the 
woods, and never are found in water. He has frequently had his legs wounded by 
them in traversing the country. Only one aquatic species is known to him at 
Valdivia, and one at Santiago. Another interesting fact indicated by him, is the 
tendency of reptiles in these southern regions to become viviparous ; an anomaly 
which Mr. Gay has observed in a great number of Ophidians, Iguanas, and even 
in one species of Frog. 



ON THE NESTS OF BIRDS. 

It is stated by a correspondent, at page 68, in alluding to the Blackcapt Fau- 
vet (Ficedula atricapilla), that " touching the nest, or even looking at it, before 
the eggs are laid, almost invariably causes the birds to desert." I have, however, 
known several instances to the contrary. Last summer, seeing a bird of this spe- 
cies with a piece of wool between its mandibles, I traced it to the nest, which was 
situated in a wild, retired hedge, overgrown with brambles, and other shrubs of 
the Rose family (Rosacea). From this time I daily visited the nest, in which 
the eggs were deposited, one by one, notwithstanding my repeated visits ; and I 
never found the birds absent. The male was on the eggs almost as frequently as 
his helpmate, and would allow me to come within two or three yards ; but on a 
nearer approach would fly off to a neighbouring elm, with evident signs of impa- 
tience. 

The same correspondent, at page 75, says — " The nest of the Coot is built in 
a bed of rushes or irises, in an" open spot, several feet from the land, and is never 
situated, like that of the Gallinule, in a thick tuft of herbage, with a view to con- 
cealment, but may easily be discovered at a considerable distance." With this 
statement I cannot agree. I am well acquainted with the localities of the nests 
both of the Coot and of the Gallinule, and have found them generally in similar 
places. I have often found the nest of the Gallinule six or seven feet from the 
ground, in a bush, and that of the Coot in a similar situation ; overhanging the 
water, but not so high up, and frequently closely concealed in the rushes and flags. 
Neither can I concur in the remark that " the young quit the nest immediately 
they are hatched." That this is often the case I do not doubt, as Selby, in his 
British Ornithology, states it from his own observation ; but I have known them 
remain in the nest several days. 

The most curious instance of eccentric nest building which has fallen under 
my observation, was that of an Ivy Wren's ( Anorthura troglodytes) within the 
nest of a Chimney Swallow ( Hirundo garrula, Blyth). The Wren's nest was, 
in all respects, as perfect as usual, with the sole difference of being encrusted by 
the procreant cradle of the Swallow. I shall be very glad if the readers of The 
Naturalist can bring forward any parallel instances. It is well known that several 
species of Falcon build in the nests of different species of Crows, and I have also 
heard of the Garden Tit (Parus hortensis) building in the prickly castle of the 
Common Pye (Pica varia) : this latter circumstance is, I believe, very rare. 

C. T. Wood. 
Campsall Hall, near Doncaster. 






ON THE HABITS OF THE RING PIGEON (Columba 
palumbus, Linn.) 

By Neville Wood, Esq.* 

Of the situation of the Ring Pigeon in the systematic arrangement, it will be 
sufficient, on the present occasion, to mention that it belongs to the third order of 
birds, Rasores, to the first family of this order (which, I believe, has not hitherto 
been divided into its five tribes), Columbidce, and to the typical genus, Columba. 

This beautiful bird is the largest of the British species, and, being indigenous 
and extremely abundant in this country, is perfectly familiar to the most superficial 
observer, under the various names of Wood Pigeon, Ring Dove, Stock Dove, &c. 

It is a favourite among individuals who have no personal interest in agricul- 
ture, on account of its plaintive melancholy cooing, which sounds so delightful 
amid the thick groves, in a still summer's evening. But by the farmer it is pro- 
scribed as vermin, and destroyed with relentless pertinacity. Although common 
in every part of England, it abounds most in wooded districts, where it may be 
seen in flocks of hundreds, feeding during the day in turnip and rape fields, and 
retiring at night, in immense numbers, to thick and gloomy woods, always pre- 
ferring those most distant from the habitations of man. It generally retires rather 
early to roost, most frequently selecting the same spot, which it flies over and 
around several times before settling on the trees. If disturbed when about to 
roost, it will fly off to a considerable distance, and return ; but if scared away a 
second or a third time, it will select another wood for that night's repose (espe- 
cially if the evening be far advanced),* where it will sometimes continue for several 
nights together. 

The flight of the Ring Pigeon is straight, rapid, smooth, and lofty, being 
effected by quickly-repeated strokes of the wings. In rising out of a thicket, how- 
ever, or when surprised on its nest, its action is extremely heavy and clumsy until 
it has gained an open space and full command of its volar powers, when it glides 
along in a beautiful manner. Although well adapted for long-protracted flight, it 
does not commonly remain long on the wing — usually passing only from field to 
field, or from wood to wood. Indeed it is only when food becomes scarce in one 
district, and the species is thus compelled to seek its sustenance by a partial migra- 
tion to another, that its wings are exercised for any length of time. In autumn 
and winter it is mostly met with in flocks ; but early in the year they disperse in 
pairs over the country. When a pair of Ring Pigeons is started in a wood, espe- 
cially if they have a nest, one of them invariably pursues a course diametrically 
opposite to that of the other ; but after flying some little distance, they wheel 

* Author of British Song Birds, &c, &c. 



131 

round, and meet at some well-known rendezvous, where the male often commence* 
his delightful note as soon as he has settled. 

This note, if I remember rightly, invariably consists of three strains, and a 
short note at the end. The whole ditty may be written thus : coo coo ; coo cod 
coo ; coo coo coo, coo coo ; cod. The stress is laid on the second syllable of 
each strain, which consists, musically speaking, of but one note. Delightful as 
the Ring Pigeon's love-song sounds at a distance, it is astonishing how rough and 
hoarse it becomes on a nearer approach. The Ring Pigeon begins to coo about 
the middle, or towards the end of February, when the flight of the male is diversi- 
fied in a most curious manner. This mode of flight ceases as soon as the nest is 
commenced, or perhaps somewhat before. 

The Ring Pigeon begins to build in March, and forms its nest of sticks and 
twigs, usually selecting the oldest and most brittle for the purpose. The sticks in 
the interior of the structure are somewhat smaller than those on the exterior. The 
shape of the nest is that of a platform, placed in the fork of a branch ; and though 
sometimes sufficiently substantial, at other times is so slightly constructed as to 
allow a practised eye to detect the eggs through the interstices. The nest is ge- 
nerally found near the tops of tall trees, particularly the fir, but I have observed 
it in nearly all the other common trees and shrubs which grow in sequestered 
woods. From its naturally shy habits, the Ring Pigeon is rarely known to build 
near houses ; but in places where the feathered tribes are not disturbed, I have 
met with instances of its breeding in the immediate neighbourhood of the abodes 
of men. Mr. Waterton pointed out a nest in an elm tree, within a few yards of 
Walton Hall, wherein both birds were sitting : so exceedingly tame will almost 
any bird become when unmolested. Last year a pair of Ring Pigeons built their 
nest in a laurel bush in the gardens at Foston Hall, Derbyshire, and hatched their 
young, though, for some reason I cannot explain, they deserted their progeny 
when about ten days old. This bird rears two or three broods in the season. 

The eggs are never more than two,* one being laid two or three days after 
the other ; which causes a corresponding difference in their times of hatching. 
The eggs are oval, but nearly elliptical, of a pure white, and remarkably smooth. 
The first egg is hatched in sixteen days, the other in nineteen, and hence the rea- 
son of one of the young birds being invariably so much larger than the other. 
They are at first scantily provided with yellow down, but the feathers of the wings 
soon begin to shoot forth. In about three weeks they are ready to fly ; and in 
Derbyshire the peasants are accustomed, about this period, to tie them to the nest 
by one leg, in order to allow the parents to feed them until they have become 

* The domestic Pigeon (which is descended from the Rock Pigeon, C. livia) also lays 
only two eggs ; but almost every extensive breeder of Pigeons must be aware that they 
will occasionally lay three. Instances of this have fallen under my own notice. 

s 2 



132 



sufficiently large and plump to afford a good Sunday-dinner. They are then 
what epicures would call " excellent eating," but become very tough and tasteless 
after a few years have passed over their heads. 

Persons little conversant with the habits of birds would climb up to every nest 
they saw, in order to ascertain whether or not it contained eggs or young ; but if 
the slightest portion of the egg-shell is to be seen under the tree, neither will be 
found in the nest ; should it, however, contain the latter, the droppings of the 
young birds are mostly to be seen, either outside the nest, or on the ground. 
After a few days, these become formed into a solid crust, which prevents the 
young from falling out, at the time when they begin to be restless. When we 
consider the flat formation of the nest, it becomes evident that without this " won- 
derful provision of Nature," the young birds would frequently be precipitated to 
the ground. 

The impossibility of taming this bird and of domesticating it, in the manner of 
the Rock Pigeon, has been often mentioned, but I should imagine this statement 
has either been copied from other authorities, or the experiment has not been pro- 
perly tried. Two years ago I reared a male Ring Pigeon from the time when it 
would have left the nest, always supplying it with green peas, beans, &c, until it 
was able to feed itself. When full grown, I turned it out and fed it with my other 
dovecot Pigeons, with which it constantly remained several months, except on one 
occasion, when it flew off to a considerable distance, but returned, to my surprise 
after an absence of a few hours. It found some difficulty in keeping up, on the 
wing, with the tame Pigeons (several of which were tumblers), as wild Pigeons are 
not accustomed to turn rapidly and frequently in the air. This bird sickened and 
died after I had possessed it six months, and I have not since had an opportunity 
of renewing the experiment ; but doubt not it would succeed with common care. 

The Ring Pigeon is an extremely handsome bird, the metallic hues of the 
head and neck contrasting finely with the white patches on either side of the neck. 
The feathers of the tail are considerably spread when the bird rises from the 
ground. The colours of the Ring Pigeon are so well known, that I shall not 
fatigue the readers of the Naturalist with a recital of them. 



THE SWIFTFOOT. 
Extract of a Letter from James Wilson, Woodville, Edinburgh. 

I have derived both pleasure and instruction from the perusal of the first 
number of The Naturalist, which contains some interesting facts accurately 
stated. From the favourable impression the work has produced upon me, I am 



133 

induced to offer an emendatory note to the first article, that on the Swiftfoot 
( Cursorius isabellinus ) , by Dr. Palmer. The author has followed an excellent 
plan in joining to his interesting sketch of that beautiful and graceful species a 
brief notice of the remainder of the genus. He errs, however, in supposing that 
these are only two in number, viz., the Coromandel Swiftfoot ( C. Asiaticus) and 
the double-collared species ( C. bicinctus). It is true that when M. Temminck, 
about sixteen years ago, published the second edition of his Manuel d" Ornitholo- 
gie, the three birds above named were all that had been discovered of the genus 
in question. But several years have elapsed since Mr. Swainson (in his Zoolo- 
gical Illustrations, plate 106) figured and described a fourth species, under the 
name of C. Temminclcii ; and more recently the Dutch ornithologist himself has 
described a fifth species, under the name of C. chalcopterus (Planches Enlum., 
268). Both of these are said to be natives of Western Africa. Thus the genus 
Cursorius, though more noted (as its name implies) for its running than its 
flying powers, occurs in countries not only widely distant from each other, but 
separated by an intermediate ocean of some thousand miles. In regard to the 
species which is figured in the first number, it might have been as well to 
have added, as a synonym, the title of Cursorius Europceus, which it bears in 
Mr. Latham's work (Index. Orn., ii., 751). Dr. Palmer is, however, quite 
right in adopting, as the specific title, that of isabellinus, bestowed by Meyer (in 
his Tasschenbuch Deut., ii., 328). The appearance of the bird in question in our 
division of the globe is entirely casual, and the application of Europceus is most 
inapplicable to a species which never voluntarily abandons the warmer regions of 
more sunny climes. It has never been known to breed in Europe, and is so rare 
in Britain that one of the only three recorded captures was purchased, by Mr. 
Donovan, at the extraordinary price of eighty-three guineas. It has been only 
once taken in France, and once in Austria. Sig. Ilanzani makes no mention of its 
having ever occurred in Italy. In Africa it is said to be more abundant in Abys- 
sinia than elsewhere ; and you may judge of the vast extent of its geographical dis- 
tribution when I inform you that several specimens were received by Professor 
Jameson, some years ago, from the southern base of the Himmalah Mountains. 
The geographical relations, then, of the genus Cursorius, and its amount of spe- 
cies, I conceive to be as follows : — 

1. Cursorius isabellinus. Africa and Asia : accidental in Europe. 

2. C. asiaticus. Asia and Africa. 

3. C. bicinctus. Africa. 

4. C. Temminckii. Africa. 

5. C. chalcopterus. Africa. 

Scarcely anything is known of the habits or natural history, properly so called, 
of any of these birds. 



THE OSCILLARIA PHARAONIS. 

[From a Foreign Correspondent]. 

M. de Bribisson has communicated to the last meeting of the Academical 
Society of Falaise, an interesting account of a rare and but little known species of 
Alga — the Oscillaria Pharaonis. The coloured liquid formed by its prompt de- 
composition, presents a remarkable phenomenon, hitherto not sufficiently studied. 
The water in which this hydrophite has been deposited immediately after its being 
gathered, assumes a tinge of deep red, either ochreous or blood-coloured, when 
examined in a deep place or in an opaque vessel : but, on the contrary, if this 
water is placed between the eye and the light, in a thin diaphanous vessel, the 
colour assumes a beautiful indigo-blue tinge. A bottle filled with this liquid 
appears, in the sun, blue on one side and red on the other ; thus it may be said 
that this liquid in decomposing the rays of light, only permits the blue rays to 
pass, and reflects the red only. White paper plunged in this liquid always takes 
an azure colour, and never a red tinge. 

Bovy de St. Vincent, was the first naturalist who has described this singular 
hydrophite, in the Diet, classique a" Histoire Naturelle. He says of the Oscilla- 
ria Pharaonis, " we are indebted to the learned Mougeot for a knowledge of this 
singular species, which, in February and March of the year 1825, presented on 
the Lakes of Neufchatel and Morat, a phenomenon which recalled the idea of one 
of the plagues of Egypt, by which the waters were changed into blood. De Can- 
dolle published some account of this Oscillaria, proposing to call it Oscillaria 
purpurea — a name which would have created considerable confusion, since other 
Oscillaria possess a purple colour. The present species is not itself coloured ; but 
possesses the property of giving out a coloured matter. Its filaments, whose 
structure has not yet been examined under a microscope, are excessively fine, at 
first invisible to the naked eye, but become visible by a careful separation in fluid, 
when they resemble minute undulated tufts, similar to those of the Orgyrosa, to 
which, also, the Pharaonis we examined presents another resemblance, that of 
being curled and shining, though the colour is quite different. A red tinge is given 
by it to paper. It appears that this Oscillaria, while living, was of a fine red 
colour, which, on dessication, passed into shades of lilac, more or less distinct." 
De Bribisson remarks that the above description would lead us to imagine that 
the Oscillaria found in France was of a different species, if it were not that St. 
Vincent had given it from a dried specimen. 

This Oscillaria is not of a red colour ; its filaments are extremely delicate, 
being scarcely the hundredth part of a millimeter in diameter. They are long, of 
a shining blackish -green colour, often as if fasciculated ; growing from a mucous 
base, thick, and yellowish. It grows in considerable tufts, sometimes more than 



135 

six inches in length, attached at the bottom of the water to stones or aquatic 
floating plants : examined under the microscope, these filaments present segments 
nearly as wide as they are long. After the emission of the colouring matter, the 
filaments become of a clear green ; a portion of the tube is emptied of the endo- 
chroma which filled it, forming masses of a certain consistence, often separated at 
small distances. In the empty portions, no traces of the segments can be distin- 
guished on the external tube. 

The singular coloration produced by this Oscillaria takes place almost instantly 
on its being gathered ; and it is impossible to transport any mass of it without 
their becoming immediately decomposed. If specimens preserving their original 
colour are required, they must be prepared on mica, or paper, in the water in 
which they were found at the moment of their being gathered. In all cases, on 
their becoming dried, it colours paper with blue zones ; it also exhales a sharp 
ammoniacal odour, very different from its congeners. 

De Bribisson and Lenormand discovered this Oscillaria in the month of Sep- 
tember, 1825, in the River Orne, near Falaise ; it reappeared in 1826, since 
which it was vainly sought for, when again this year it was abundantly found, in 
the month of July, in the same river. 

Specimens have been forwarded to Mr. Duby, while publishing his Botanicon 
Gallicum, mentioning the phenomenon of coloration above stated, which his de- 
scription does not correctly convey in these words : — Filamentis : demum lilaci- 
nis aquam purpurio et violaceo tingentibus. 

Other Oscillaria? imgart the purple or blue tinge or water on their decomposition, 
but we have never observed the two shades existing at the same moment, as in the 
species now described. 



Mr. Leclencher has addressed de Blainville on the subject of the Spi' 
rula. He has succeeded in taking, on the Bar of Senegal, the animal inhabiting 
that mollusc, in a sufficiently perfect state to enable him, by a comparison with 
others possessing the mutilated parts, to complete a description of the whole. He 
has observed that the Physalioe feed commonly upon these animals, which ac- 
counts for the number of their shells and the rarity of the animal in a living state. 
In addition to the description already given by naturalists, Mr. Leclencher adds, 
that, independent of the lateral lobes which terminate the animal, two fins may be 
distinguished, so placed that only a small portion of the shell is exposed. The 
eyes appear large, and enclosed in a cartilaginous orbit. The lower part of the 
neck presents the funnel shape usually seen in cephalopids. 



REVIEWS. 



A History of the Rarer Species of British Birds. By T. C. Eyton, Esq. 
Intended as a supplement to the History of British Birds by the late Thomas 
Bewick. Illustrated with Wood-cuts. Longman and Co., London. Three 
Parts, 8vo. 1836. 

The Ornithologist's Text-Book. Being Reviews of Ornithological Works, with 
an Appendix containing Discussions on various Topics of Interest. By 
Neville Wood, Esq. Small 8vo., pp. 232. Parker, London. 1836. 

British Song Birds. Being popular Descriptions and Anecdotes of the Cho- 
risters of the Groves. By Neville Wood, Esq., &c. Small 8vo., pp. 408. 
Parker, London. 1836. 

If the length and rapidity of the stride be at all commensurate with the stir 
• which the science of Ornithology is, at present, making among us ; if the quality 
of the information which they are destined to impart, bear anything like a fair 
proportion to the number and costliness of the works that are monthly, weekly, 
and almost daily, issuing from the press of Britain, the luckless birds will hence- 
forth have but a very sorry time of it. Their domiciles and their haunts will, 
more than ever, be broken in upon by the reckless hand of the oological plunderer, 
and the prowling foot of the ornithological spy. The march of intellect will speed- 
ily achieve, among the feathered tribes, the work of ruin and dispersion which the 
march of population has long since begun. The Eagle will be finally driven from 
her eyrie in the precipice. There will no longer be a wilderness for the Owl, nor 
marsh for the " booming Bittern." Our hedge-rows will cease to be a place of 
secure deposit for the bright-blue eggs of the elegant little Dunnock : our eaves, 
to afford their wonted sanctuary to the faithful and confiding Swallow. Amid the 
rapidly increasing taste for ornithological pursuits on the one hand, and the daring 
encroachments of gas and steam and the ceaseless extension of human enterprize 
and dwellings on the other, our nocturnal and diurnal birds will seek in vain, 
throughout the land, for their congenial darkness and solitudes : and amid the uni- 
versal rise of the waters of Science and the spring-tide of advancing population, 
the dove of Britain will find no spot whereon to rest her weary foot. 

In addition to the three new works, whose titles are transcribed at the head of 
this Article, several others have already been published during the present year ; 
many are in course of publication ; and yet more have been announced. Of the 
works which have actually appeared since the commencement of 1836, the Ra- 



137 

pacioiis Birds, of Mac Gillivray, and the Second Edition of the Feathered Tribes 
of the British Islands, by Robert Mudie, are principally entitled to attention. The 
former of these is, more especially, a master-piece of ornithological description and 
research. We hope to see, ere long, other Orders of our British Birds delineated, 
and, in the true signification of the word, illustrated, by the same powerful, deli- 
cate, and experienced hand, and in language of the like commanding eloquence and 
perspicuity. Mr. Mac Gillivray's wood-cuts, representing the heads of the various 
species of Birds of prey, are uncommonly spirited and striking : his delineations of 
the internal structure of the Buzzard and the Owl, admirable studies for the orni- 
thological inquirer, and models for the artist. Would that anything we can say, 
might induce Mr. Mudie, in the future editions of his deeply interesting work, to 
substitute for the painted figures, with which it is, at present, infested, some such 
accurate and impressive sketches of the external configuration, or internal anato- 
my, of the Feathered Tribes, as really adorn, because really illustrating, the feli- 
citous and masterly descriptions of Mr. Mac Gillivray. To this list may be added, 
although not, strictly speaking, a British publication, the third volume of Audu- 
bon's fascinating Ornithological Biography. 

The more important works, in progress of publication during the current 
year, are the magnificent and yet unrivalled Birds of Europe by Mr. Gould ; 
Meyer's Illustrations of British Birds, a very respectable, although, assuredly, 
not a first-rate production ; and the accurate and beautifully executed British 
Oology, of our friend, Hewitson. The intellectual and enterprizing Mrs. Perrott 
has been so rudely, — we had almost said unrighteously — assailed by certain litera- 
rary shrikes, in whose crania the organs of combativeness and destructiveness 
sadly predominate over those of benevolence and attachment to the softer sex, 
that we really apprehend she must have quitted, in disgust, the field of competi- 
tion.* The most valuable and interesting periodicals, of which Ornithology conr 
stitutes an essential portion, are Partington's British Cyclopaedia of Natural 
History ; and the masterly Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, by Dr. 
Todd. The third and fourth numbers of the latter contain an article upon Birds 
(Aves) which must elevate its profound and accomplished author, Mr. Owen, to 
the first rank in the phalanx of living zoologists. The Outlines of Comparative 
Anatomy, by Dr. Grant — a third Part of which has recently appeared — will be 
found to supply information, alike luminous, accurate, and minute, upon the struc- 
ture of the Bird-Class. 

A new edition of the valuable Ornithological Dictionary, of Colonel Mon- 
tagu, wherein the original structure will, doubtless, be cleared from the rubbish 



* Since this sentence was written, we have received the distressing intelligence of the 
death of the accomplished and highly-gifted Mrs. Perrott, under circumstances of deep 
affliction. 

VOL. I. T 



138 



and incongruities with which it has been encumbered and defaced by the impotent 
yet daring hand of Professor Rennie, and extended and adorned by the real dis- 
coveries and improvements of modern ornithological science ; — a new periodical on 
the Smaller British Birds, by Messrs. Blythe and Fowler, whose names alone 
constitute a sufficient pledge for the accuracy and value of such a book ; and — 
what is still better than all — a complete systematic work on British Ornithology, 
corresponding, in form and execution, with the British Fishes, of Yarrell, and 
the British Quadrupeds, of Bell, — may be selected as the most promising pro- 
ductions which, during the present year, have been announced for publication. 
Of the execution of the latter, we cherish the most sanguine expectations : we feel 
the deepest interest in its character and fate. Instead of the useless, although 
amusing, and frequently indelicate tail-pieces exhibited in the popular work of 
Bewick, we earnestly recommend the author of the projected volumes, whoever he 
be, to introduce cuts illustrative of either the internal or external peculiarities of 
structure, or the habits, of the individual bird under discussion. Ornithology will 
never attain the requisite precision to constitute a science until we have accurate 
delineations of the internal anatomy of almost every species of bird which traverses 
the desert, haunts the marsh or shore, or floats in air or water. In illustration of 
our views on this subject, we recur, with peculiar pleasure, to the elaborate and 
scientific volume of Mr. Mac Gillivray on the Rapaces. 

The title of Mr. Eyton's supplementary work, to which we, at length, revert, 
sufficiently indicates its character and objects. The three Parts, of which it con- 
sists, exhibit pleasing, well-executed, and generally accurate representations on 
wood, of more than forty of the rarer species of British Birds. A few of these, 
however, it should seem, have been given in the last edition* of Bewick's interest- 
ing volumes ; and consequently ought not to have made their appearance here. 
The tail -pieces of Mr. Eyton are ordinarily quite as irrelevant to the subject which 
they follow, and, of course, quite as useless, as those of Bewick ; with but a very 
sorry sprinkling of the spirit and humour which characterize the execution, and, 
in some measure, expiate the sins, of their predecessors. The whole is terminated 
by a copious Catalogue, with a tolerably full and correct Synonymy, of British 
Birds. 

Of the two productions of Mr. Neville Wood, both highly valuable and in- 
structive, we greatly prefer the last. It is a delightful volume ; full of living por- 

* It has generally been believed that the 1826 edition of Bewick's work is the last pub- 
lished. This was long our opinion ; and our reiterated inquiries, among the London and 
provincial biliopoles, served only to confirm the erroneous impression. Another edition, 
with several additional figures of the rarer or newly-discovered British Birds, it now ap- 
pears, came out in 1832. This edition, we naturally infer, must have been small, and 
speedily bought up ; as all our efforts to obtain a copy, or even the inspection of one, have, 
hitherto, been unavailing. 



139 

traits of our native Song-birds, evidently traced by the hand of a man of genius 
and an enthusiast, — an original and an indefatigable observer ; and truly refresh- 
ing to the spirit of the thorough-bred ornithologist, whom the stale and vapid per- 
formances of the hireling compiler have too frequently served only to nauseate 
and disgust. Deeply do we marvel how an individual, so little advanced in years, 
as Mr. Neville Wood really is, could have produced a work of which any natural- 
ist, however aged or experienced, might well be proud ; and which all, who aspire 
to the character of a British ornithologist, must possess ; and, once possessing, will 
frequently peruse. 

The Text Book is, on the whole, an odd and rambling work : yet, like many 
very odd people and odd things, there is, about it, a spirit of indescribable fascina- 
tion and allurement. It consists, principally of short Reviews, with occasional ex- 
tracts from them, of all the more important Ornithological works which have ap- 
peared, both in Britain and upon the continent, from the time of the celebrated 
Willughby, of Middleton, to the present day ; and will form an useful guide to 
the ornithological student in his selection of works of reference and illustration. 
Mr. Wood's criticisms on the writings and researches of other men, are generally 
correct, candid, and impartial. Sometimes, however, as in the cases of Professor 
Rennie and Mrs. Perrott, they are surely uttered in a tone of unmerited and un- 
becoming asperity : nor, in our opinion, has full justice been done to the exalted 
genius and labours of our illustrious Ray. On the other hand, Mr. Wood is oc- 
casionally lavish of his praises, where, from the worthless and contemptible cha- 
racter of the subject, eulogy is converted into the deepest satire. Unmerited 
praise, like a strong light thrown upon a crazy edifice, serves only to render more 
conspicuous the defects of that object which it seeks to illustrate. After all that 
Mr. Neville" Wood has said, or can say, upon the subject, the trumpery work of 
Lewin on British birds will be trumpery still. 

The Second Part of the Text-book, entitled " Synopses of Systems," contains 
elucidations of the Ornithological Systems of Willughby, Linneus, Brisson, La- 
tham, Lacepede, Dumeril, Meyer, Illiger, Temminck, Cuvier, Blainville, Vieillot, 
Vigors, Lattreille, Lesson, and Fleming, with the respective periods of their an- 
nunciation or development. It would require more time and examination than we 
can, at present, bestow upon the subject, to discuss their characteristic merits and 
defects. To the ornithological student, this portion of Mr. Wood's work will 
prove exceedingly acceptable and instructive. The remnant of the volume, under 
the head of " Supplement" is occupied with " Hints for a new and complete work on 
General Ornithology ; and, as the title-page expresses it, " discussions on various 
topics of interest." 

We cannot terminate these imperfect notices without formally and earnestly 
recommending an attentive perusal of the Text-book, and Song Birds, of Mr. 
Neville Wood to our ornithological readers : and we must add that he, who can 

t2 



140 



read the animated and glowing 1 descriptions of the Garden Thrash and the Brake 
Nightingale, contained in the latter, without experiencing those emotions of pure 
and ineffable delight which the contemplation of the works and the wonders of 
Creation can alone or best awaken, — without catching a portion of the enthusiasm 
which inspires the ardent and highly-gifted author, and gives an indescribable 
charm to the productions of his pen, — has not a heart " instinct with Nature's 
love ;" and most assuredly possesses no real claim to the character of an Orni- 
thologist. 

The Naturalist's Library. Conducted by Sir William Jardine, Bart., F.R.S.E., 
F.L.S., &c. Entomology. Vol. IV. British Moths, Sphinxes, &c. By 
James Duncan, M. W. S.. pp. 268. Edinburgh, 1836. 

" This volume presents to the Public the continuation and completion of the 
British Lepidoptera, and is confined almost exclusively to the nocturnal 
portion of these beautiful and interesting objects of Creation ; the former volume 
having embraced the natural history and illustration of the diurnal tribes. It is 
enriched with seventy-six figures of various species, most of them characteristic of 
distinct genera, accompanied in many instances with the Chrysalis and Caterpillar, 
the latter generally placed upon the plant on which it feeds ; and they make in all 
ninety-nine figures. The two volumes are calculated to form a Manual of 
British Lepidotera, complete in relation to the Diurnal and Crepuscular 
tribes, and presenting a considerable selection from the Nocturnal ; they are illus- 
trated by no fewer than two hundred and forty-six figures, drawn, engraved, and 
coloured from the natural objects with an accuracy which will bear comparison 
with the best works on the subject. The copiousness of pictoral illustration may 
be safely asserted to have no parallel, particularly when the small price of Six 
Shillings per volume is considered, and it could only be accomplished by the 
great number which are sold of this popular series, and the economy and care 
practised in every department of its details." 

The preceding is an extract from the Advertisement prefixed to the fourth 
volume of Entomology, of the Naturalist's Library : and we can conscien- 
tiously bear evidence to the accuracy of the statement, and the justice of the eulo- 
gy which it conveys. Rarely has it been our lot to peruse a more pleasing and 
instructive work. It is, moreover, got up in a stile of extraordinary neatness and 
elegance ; and, even in this prolific age of cheap publications, we have seen nothing 
at all comparable, in moderation of price, with this. The figures of the various in- 
sects in their perfect and caterpillar states, are commonly drawn with great accu- 
racy and spirit ; and often coloured with equal truth and delicacy. To the justice 
of our eulogium in the last respect, there are, however, some exceptions. In the 
large Emei-ald Moth, Hipparchus papilionarius, Fig. 3, Plate xxvii., the " two 



141 

rows of whitish spots extending- across both wings," and the " obscure crescent- 
shaped spot of a deeper green than the rest on the disk of each," are not distinctly 
expressed : and the naturally bright and gay colouring of the Gooseberry Moth, 
Abraxas grossulariata, Fig. 1, Plate xxviii., has been, by no means, successfully 
imitated. Yet these defects, of which we are surprized to find so small a number, 
and for the removal of which a little attention in the getting-up of the future edi- 
tions will suffice, are amply atoned for by the general excellence and beauty of 
the volume. It is, in fine, a work with which every student of the British Lepi- 
doptera should be conversant ; and to which even the veteran Entomologist 
may refer with pleasure and advantage. 

The volume is headed by a very nicely engraved Portrait, and a Biographical 
Memoir, of Maria Sibilla Merian, the celebrated authoress of divers interesting 
works on Natural History ; of which the most important are the Metamorphosis 
Tnsectorum Surinamensium, Folio ; and Erucarum Ortus, Alimentum et Para- 
doxa Metamorphosis, etc., Quarto. She was born at Frankfort, 1647 ; and closed 
a life of ardent and unwearied devotion to the cause of natural science, at the age 
of 70. The countenance of this distinguished lady, as represented in an Engrav- 
ing prefixed to her work on Caterpillars, strikingly confirms an observation which 
we have frequently made, that Nature loves to conceal her brightest gems in a 
disfigured or unsightly casket. By the magic touches of the British artist, how- 
ever, the unprepossessing visage of Madame Merian has been transformed into a 
somewhat fair and goodly face. Would to Heaven that the moral delinquencies, 
which too frequently form the characteristic and the curse of genius, were thus 
easy of reparation as its personal deformities and defects ! The hand and arm of 
the Lady, however, as delineated in the English portrait, are coarsely and clum- 
sily fashioned ; and could never, we confidently assert, have been associated with 
a head of such fair dimensions, and a brain of such untiring energy, as Madame 
Merian evidently possessed. 

German Periodicals. 

We have received the first three Numbers of a Journal, in Quarto, entitled 
Isis. Encyclopadische Zeitschrift, vorzilglich fur Naturgeschichte, Vorglei- 
chende Anatomie und Physiologie (The Isis, an Encyclopedian Journal of Na- 
tural History, Comparative Anatomy and Physiology) for the year 1836. The 
First and Second Numbers contain, each with three illustrative Engravings, a 
very long and important paper on Physiology, the matter of which it is impossible 
to condense within any reasonable limits. The Third is principally occupied by a 
Report of the Meeting of Naturalists at Stuttgard on the 18th of September, 1834. 
It is equally insusceptible of analysis or condensation. 

The Archiv fur Naturgeschichte, of which the first three monthly Numbers 



142 

for 1836 have,also,reached us, contains many interesting and important commu- 
nications on various subjects connected with Natural History. Of those which 
strike us as most practically useful, we shall render an account in the next --Num- 
ber of the Naturalist. The work is edited by Dr. Wiegmann ; and published 
at Berlin. It is, at present, only in its second year. The three Numbersbefore 
us are enriched by eight very delicate, and apparently most accurate engravings. 



EXTRACTS FROM THE FOREIGN SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS. 

1. — On the Silex of Plants. Mr. G. A. Struves, of Dresden, has 
recently published a dissertation on the silex found in some species of plants. He 
assumes as a principle that lime is necessary to the animal kingdom, and silex to 
the vegetable ; that certain localities are the more abundant in the different 
species according to the prevailing nature of the soil. Silex being almost insolu- 
ble, and not able to penetrate vegetables which are not aquatic, necessarily exists 
in larger proportions in those species circulating water. Mr. Struves concludes, 
from his experiments, that the silex discoverable in plants owes its presence to the 
action of the water absorbed by the plant, that it is not combined either with an 
acid or an alkali, and so far predominates over the other chemical components as 
to determine the form of plants. 

The following are the numerical results of Struves's analyses : — 

Silex. Alum. Salts. Calcareous. Manganese. 

Equisitum hyemale 97,52 1,7 0,69 0,0 

Equisitum limosum 94,85 0,99 1,57 1,69 

Equisitum arvense 95,48 2,55 1,64 0,0 

Spongia lacustris 94,66 1,77 0,99 2,0 

Calamus Rhodan ? 99,20 0,0 0,54 0,0 

We beg leave to observe that the plants above experimented upon all belong 
to the class rwonocotyledon, long known to secrete silex, if we may be allowed the 
expression ; but Mr. Struves appears to think the same circumstance may be 
traced throughout the vegetable kingdom : in which we cannot concur, it being 
well known that a very small portion of silex can be detected in the cfc'cotyledonous 
class. We also confess no small astonishment at finding the analysis of a sponge 
classed with vegetables, its animal claim having long since been clearly established. 
We have placed a query to Calamus Rhodan, not knowing the plant by that name. 



143 



2. — Enormous mass of Malachite. In June, 1835, a mass of ma- 
lachite was discovered in the mines of P. and A. Demidoff, at Nischnei-Tagilsk, 
in the district of Jekaterinburg, measuring 16,2 feet, French measure., in length, 
7,5 in width, and 8,6 in heighth ; it weighs, therefore, by admeasurement, 350 
ponds of Russia, each pond being equal to rather more than 16 kilogrammes, 
French weight : making this enormous mass upwards of Jive tons and a half, 
English weight. No cracks or imperfections had been discovered so far as the 
examination had then been made. The largest block of Malachite previously dis- 
covered in Russia weighed 90 ponds : it was discovered in the mines of Furchami- 
noff, and is now deposited in the museum of the corps of miners, at St. Peters- 
burgh. 

3. — M. Engelhart, professor at Dorpt, appears to have been the first person 
to suggest, from geognostic appearances observable in the mountains of the Oural, 
that they contained diamonds. From the indications he furnished, the Russian 
government directed measures to be taken in order to ascertain that fact : they 
were not, however, attended with success. Count Polie, the proprietor of the 
land, on which is established gold and platinum works, was more fortunate ; and 
the first Russian diamond was brought to light by his unwearied perseverance, at 
the period of M. de Humboldt's voyage in Asiatic Russia. The number of these 
precious stcnes found, only amounted to thirty-five ; and the expense attending 
their discovery being immensely beyond their intrinsic value, it is more interesting 
in a scientific, than profitable in a commercial, point of view. 

4. — M. Jacquin has given an interesting paper on the pneumasticity of birds, 
which was read at the French Academy of Sciences, April 25th, 1836. He 
states that all the shoulder bones have their pneumatic perforations grouped round 
the scapular extremity, and receive air from the sub-scapular sac : it is transmitted 
to the bones of the fore-arm by the external cellular tissue, and even by the cavity 
of the humerus, from whence it is conveyed to the digits. An analagous arrange- 
ment exists for the inferior member, in which the cavities are always more extend- 
ed as the species of bird possesses the greater powers of flight. The cervical ver- 
tebrae have numerous small perforations in the channel formed by the transverse 
apophyses : this conducts the air from the pectoral sac. The subcostal sacs fur- 
nish air in a similar manner to the ribs and dorsal vertebrae ; and the sacral sacs 
to the vertebrae so called, and the basin. Air to the sternum is derived from the 
sternal sac, which sends it to the sternal apophyses of the ribs. 

5 — Osmya Bicolor, (Latreille). — Mr. Bobineau Desvoidy, who is well 
known to the French naturalists, by his interesting researches respecting dipterous 
insects and Crustacea, particularly those of the neighbourhood of St. Sauveur, in 



144 



the department of Yonne, France, has recently furnished some details of the habits 
of the Osmya Bicolor and the Osmya Helicicola. These insects are nearly allied 
to the Bee, but form their nests in the deserted shells of the Snail ; he has divided 
them into two species, the first is only found nidified in the Helix nemoralis, and 
the second most frequently in the Helix pomatia. The O. bicolor, lays two eggs 
in each shell, the female egg being always placed uppermost ; above these are con- 
structed three or four cells of sand, separated from each other by a membranous 
partition. The Osmya helicicola deposits ten or twelve eggs separated from each 
other by distinct partitions, each being provided with a magazine of honey ; but 
they do not wall in the different strata, either with sand or any other earthy 
matter placed above the domicile of their progeny. They sometimes form their 
nest in the Helix nemoralis, in which they lay several eggs, closing the entrance 
with a thick division formed of minute fragments of leaves, triturated with the 
salivated excretion of the insect, and arranged in successive layers. 

Mr. Desvoidy has also found in the nymphae of those two species of Osmya 
a parasitical insect, which he, in the first instance, considered an Ichneumon, but 
has since determined it to be a pupivorous hymenoptera, of the genus Eulophus, 
hitherto undescribed ; he has, therefore, named them Eulophus osmiarum. These 
larva? change into nymphae without spinning a coccoon, or quitting the place of 
their birth. 

Another insect is found inhabiting the vacant shells of Snails ; it is the Sopy- 
ga punctata : which passes its two stages of metamorphose in the cells of the 
Osmya, and are themselves sometimes tormented by the Ichneumon. 

The same entomologist observes that the Asylus diadema — a species of insect 
hitherto only found in France, near Marseilles — is also met with at St. Sauveur, 
and may be classed with the enemies of the domestic Bee, which they seize with 
their feet, and bury in holes excavated for that purpose. This appears to be the 
only instance of dipterous insects being grave-diggers, which renders Mr. Des- 
voidy's discovery highly interesting. Of several examples of the Asylus diadema 
which this naturalist took in the act of carrying off their prey, all proved, on exa- 
mination, to be females, and the Bees were doubtless buried to serve as a future 
provision for the larvae of its ravisher. 

Another interesting fact is mentioned of a species of dipterous insect, the 
Conops auripes, which torments the Bombus hortorum, as Mr. Desvoidy ima- 
gines, for the purpose of depositing its eggs on the surface, or between the annular 
segments, of that insect's body. The genus Conops are, at present, the only insects 
described as living even in the bodies of other insects which have attained an adult 
perfect state ; other analagous species only living on the larvae, and still more 
generally on the nymphae. Mr. Desvoidy adds that the apodous larva found in 
the body of a Bombus, and described by Messrs. Audouin and Lachat, most 
probably is a species of the genus Conops. 



MELIT^A DIA. 

ORDER. LEPIDOPTERA. FAMILY. NYMPHALIDiE* 

PURPLE-UNDERWINGED FRITILLARY. 
By J. C. Dale, Esq. 

This butterfly has, for some time past, held a situation amongst the doubtful 
natives of this kingdom, but has never been well authenticated till the captures 
made at Sutton Park (?), by Mr. Weaver, of the Museum of Birmingham, about 
ten or twelve years since. 

The following is from Turton, p. 42, A.D. 1806 :— 

" Papilio Dia, (marked as British). — Wings, fulvous, spotted with black; 
lower ones beneath, purple, the base with yellow and silvery spots and an obsolete 
silvery band in the middle. 

" Inhabits Europe. Esp. tab. 16, f. 4. 

" Lower Wings with a row of six black dots towards the tip, the two middle 
ones slightly pupillate. 

" Larva, grey, with alternate rows of white and feruginous spines. 

" Pupa, yellowish, variegated with black." 

Stewart also gives it as British, nearly describes it the same as Turton, and 
says the caterpillar feeds on the viola (A. D. 1817, 2nd edition). 

M. Dia was found in great numbers, on the east coast of Greenland, 71° N., 
by Mr. Scoresby. 

ARGYNNIS AGLAIA, var. 

The second figure in the subjoined plate is a variety of A. Aglaia, of which 
Mr. Sowerby gives the following specific characters : " Above, dull orange, with 
black marks ; nineteen silver spots on the lower wing beneath." Sowerby says, 
" The nineteen silver spots are very constant ;" but he had seen no intermediate 
or other variety, of which there are now several, (one figured by Mr. Curtis, 
plate 290 of British Entomology.) Haworth also speaks of "Alee anticce lituris 
4 nee, 5 costalibus utrinque, quarum 2 nee, 1 compositae sunt ;" but he did not 
think of the more or less confluence of spots. 

The late Dr. Abbot took three specimens of the variety described by Haworth 
as Charlotta (Caroletta ?), near Bedford, nearly all alike, and gave one to Mr. 
Haworth, and one to Mr. Sowerby, who figured it in his British Miscellany, 
plate 2 ; I bought the third in his collection, and have procured another taken near 
Peterborough, which represents on the reverse the characters of Charlotta on one 

VOL. I U 



146 

side of the inferior wings, and that of Aglaia on the other ; thereby proving it 
to be merely a variety : and Haworth mentions " Detecta Femina Olim D. Wilks, 
at ubi nescio." 

Sir P. Walker had specimens in his possession, and I saw some large and fine 
Aglaia in the Isle of Arran, but could not take any. Mr. Bree, of Allesley, has 
figured M. Dia, and also two varieties of A. Aglaia, in Loudon, vol. 5, p. 749, 
fig. 122, as Adippe ? according to the opinion of Mr. Stephens ; but in his own 
(Mr. Bree's) opinion, Aglaia. Mr. Curtis has a very fine variety of Adippe 
taken, near Colchester, by Dr. Maclean, but it is very distinct from the above. 
I once found the larva of Adippe in the New Forest, June 1st, 1824. I have 
seen the suffusion of black spots in some species so powerful as to lose the 
genuine character so completely as to appear wholly black, instead of fulvous, 
with black spots ( Selene for one). 



On the APPLICATION of the PRINCIPLES of INDUCTION to the 
INVESTIGATION of the VEGETABLE KINGDOM, and the IN- 
FERENCES in RELATION to NATURAL THEOLOGY. 

By Robert Dickson, M.D., F.L.S. 

LECTURER ON BOTANV AT ST. GEORGE'S HOSPITAL AND THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, 

WEBB-STREET, LONDON. 

The members of the vegetable kingdom claim our regard, by ministering to 
more of the senses than any other objects of creation. The eye is delighted by 
their symmetry and elegance, as well as by their varied and brilliant hues — the 
touch is sometimes pleased by their smoothness or softness — the smell is regaled 
by their perfume — and the taste gratified by their flavour. 

Yet it is not to be denied that, attractive though they be from thus ministering 
to the external senses of sight, smell, and taste, the degree to which these latter 
are capable of determining the qualities of plants, is vastly inferior to that of the 
animals which feed upon them. Animals, may, indeed, commit an error, and eat 
some poisonous plant ; but this is rather to be attributed to their being previously 
affected with some disease, by which the fine sense . of smell has been lost, and 
the power of discrimination destroyed, than to an original deficiency of instinct : 
for, as a general rule, animals not only avoid particular plants of a poisonous kind, 
but whole tribes of plants possessed of noxious qualities. Neither oxen, horses, 
pigs, sheep, nor goats will eat a single solanaceous plant (Nightshade, tribe) ex- 



147 

cept potatoes, all of which are more or less poisonous — though they devour readily 
the grasses, none of which, save one, have any unwholesome properties in a natu- 
ral and healthy state. Other animals as decidedly avoid one tribe of plants and 
prefer others, as these just mentioned. In what way, then, is man to be placed in 
a condition equal, at least, if not superior to the animals over which he rules, in 
judging of the properties of plants, in respect to their safety or danger ? Here, 
as in other cases, by exerting the intellectual faculties with which he is endowed — 
those inward senses, the possession and right application of which raise him to an 
immeasurable height above the beasts of the field. The astronomer foretells with 
the most unerring certainty, the return of every comet — those bodies which, till 
later times, were conceived to move through space in such eccentric orbits, as to 
have the appearance of random or chance visitants to our planetary system. This 
he effects by observations and calculations which have attained such a degree of 
accuracy, that it would seem as if the comet appeared in obedience to his will ; 
whereas it only returns to a given point of the heavens in obedience to laws which 
emanate from the Creator of all things. Now, should any one undertake to fore- 
tell or determine what qualities or properties any newly discovered plant would be 
found to possess, it would seem to many to be presumptuous or paradoxical, and 
to some, impossible. Yet it is perfectly practicable by an application of the same 
principles of induction which guide the astronomer. Plants are not constructed 
at random, or independently of fixed and ascertainable principles. These furnish 
to the scientific botanist indications of the properties of a plant, not less trustwor- 
thy than those which conduct the observer of the heavens to conclusions which, 
on their first announcement are much more improbable — conclusions referring to 
masses of matter millions of miles distant from us, while the others relate to ob- 
jects at our feet or in our hands. If this globe and all which it inherit be the pro- 
duction of the same Creative Being who formed the other planetary orbs, is it 
likely that different laws would be framed to influence the structure of its organ- 
ized inhabitants from those which influence the whole? Certainly not. The 
chemist tells us that the most minute particles — atoms, as he terms them — of un- 
organized matter, enter into combinations with the particles of other substances 
in regular and uniform proportion. Aware of this law, he makes all his arrange- 
ments in accordance with it, and so accomplishes his objects at a vast saving of 
materials, and often of time, since he rarely encounters failure or disappointment 
requiring him to repeat his experiments or renew his operations. He has, 
besides, a certain index to errors or mistakes in every instance where he perceives 
a departure from the definite and ascertained proportions. Thus the chemist who 
investigates the separate particles of matter, and the astronomer who investigates 
the largest masses of unorganized matter, are alike guided by the power of num- 
bers. 

And is it probable that organized matter should be constructed with less re- 

u2 



148 

gard to number and proportion ? Far from it. Though Plato of old called the 
Creator the Divine Geometrician, modern philosophers have been slow to observe 
the numberless instances of the operation of his adjusting mind, which all his 
works display. Indeed it has not been remarked in the animal kingdom till our 
own day, and the merit of observing it, promulgating, and establishing it is due to 
Mr. William Macleay, who, though young in years at the time of his discovery, 
was ripe in the power of penetration and spirit of arrangement. He has demon- 
strated that the whole animal kingdom is constructed in a series, which form cir- 
cles of fives, (hence quinary arrangement as this is termed), five of the subordi- 
nate circles making one primary circle, the amount or number of these primary 
circles being also five. — (See Macleay, Horce Entomologies J. 

The remark that Jive was a favourite number in nature, was made by Sir 
Thomas Brown, (see his Quincunx), in 1656, and he supported its correctness by 
numerous instances drawn from the vegetable kingdom. Its applicability to an 
entire section of that kingdom was not, however, observed or demonstrated till a 
much later date ; and now it is a well-ascertained principle, that, of the three great 
sections into which plants may be divided, according to their internal structure 
and mode of growth, each has a predominating number, which is displayed in the 
portions which constitute the flower (in the vascular or flowering plants), and 
along with which prevailing number certain properties are invariably found to be 
conjoined. For instance, the first or lowest section of the vegetable kingdom con- 
sists of plants exclusively formed of cellular tissue, (hence called cellular plants); 
the prevailing number of the parts of which is two, or some regular multiple of 
two, as is best exemplified in the number of the teeth of the peristome of mosses, 
which are either, 4, 8, 16, 32, or 64. Such plants are remarkable, in general, for 
their freedom from any very active principle, and consequently scarcely any of 
them are poisonous : (fungi or mushrooms seem exceptions ; but it is doubtful 
whether these singular productions belong to the vegetable kingdom). Hence 
though a few of them yield dyeing principles, the greater number of them are 
xmly employed as food for man or animals, and may, in most instances be fear- 
lessly partaken of by any one in danger of perishing for want of other kinds of 
food. 

The next section of the vegetable kingdom possesses vessels of different kinds, 
in addition to the cellular tissue of the former, and are characterized by a particu- 
lar mode of growth — namely, by additions to the interior, (hence called Endogens), 
which accounts for the circumference of the stem when once formed, never vary- 
ing or encreasing in diameter. These plants are at all times distinguishable by 
the manner in which the veins of the leaf run (i. e. always in parallel lines), and 
have the portions of the flower arranged in threes, or regular multiples of three. 
(See flowers of Crocus, Hyacinth, Lilies, or Tulips). This section contains plants 
which are scarcely more active than the former ; and having neither bark nor 



149 

wood as parts of their structure, are destitute of the peculiar products of these 
parts. Hence it is mostly for food that such plants are valuable, and their roots 
(or rather rhizomata) and fruits or seeds are the parts chiefly employed for this 
purpose — as the arrow-root, the seeds of the cereal grains, wheat, rice, &c, and 
dates, cocoa-nuts, &c, are examples. 

The remaining section of plants comprises those which grow by additions to 
the exterior (hence called Exogens), and which have the stems conical and 
branched, and the parts of the flower arranged in fives or regular multiple of five. 
(See flowers of Marvel of Peru, Pink, Rose, Potentilla, Apple, &c). In these 
the leaves have the veins forming a net-work ; they possess bark and a perfect 
woody structure, and consequently all the principles which are either formed or 
deposited in these. Among such plants are to be found the most active vegeta- 
ble poisons, sources at once of injury and benefit to man ; for while the savage 
employs them only to destroy his enemies, whether of the brute or human kind, 
the skilful and benevolent physician converts them into instruments of great, nay, 
of unspeakable, benefit to his suffering fellow-creatures. 

So in the arts : does the dresser of leather need an agent to assist him in tan- 
ning, he seeks and finds it only in this section of the vegetable kingdom, as the 
astringent principle he requires is mostly lodged in the bark — as the Oak, the 
Willow, the Larch, and others which are employed for this purpose attest 
Again ; are fixed oils required for any of the various purposes to which they can 
be applied — they are, with one or two exceptions only, to be obtained from this 
section of the vegetable kingdom. All kinds of gums, of resins, and gum-resins, 
with scarcely any exceptions, are exclusively supplied by this section of plants. 

It is unnecessary to add more examples to prove the advantage of proceeding 
in our examination of the vegetable kingdom, in reference to its uses to mankind, 
according to principles which have their foundation in the unalterable laws of na- 
ture, and therefore furnish the best and most certain guides. It cannot be 
doubted that the Author of nature intended these external marks and definite 
numbers, to be indices, or signs of internal properties ; and instances might be 
given where a very slight, and, as some might think, unimportant difference of 
external structure, furnished a key to an important difference of chemical compo- 
sition. 

That the recognition of these principles will be productive in time of much 
utility may easily be imagined, but that is not the only or most essential object in 
noticing them at present ; which is to intimate that throughout all nature a balanc- 
ing, adjusting, and proportioning principle reigns, giving evidence of the whole 
being an emanation from one great Creative Being. Attention being once di- 
rected to the existence of such proofs, the observer will recognize them everywhere, 
and they will serve to illustrate to every mind, the wisdom displayed in the crea- 



150 

tion of the world by the Supreme Being, who, in the words of the son of Siraeh, 
" created her, and saw her, and numbered her." 

And thus voices, addressed to the ear of every rational believer, will be heard 
proceeding, not from the spheres only, but from every object of the visible uni- 
verse, audibly declaring that " the hand which made them was divine." 



THE NATURALIST ABROAD ; 
Or, DAYS IN THE WOODS AND FIELDS : 

INCLUDING INCIDENTAL BOTANICAL AND ENTOMOLOGICAL NOTICES. 

By Edwin Lees, F.L.S. & F.E.S.L. 



No. I. — The First Day of Summer, and the Libellulid^e. 

I have often thought that a carefully constructed contemporaneous calendar of 
the appearance of birds and insects, and the flowering of wild or naturalized plants, 
would not only be of great use to the inquiring naturalist, but of extraordinary 
interest to the general lover of nature's wild scenes. That notices of the kind I 
allude to are scattered about in various works I am well aware, but they have 
seldom, if ever, been brought forward together, and their harmonies and associa- 
tions fully traced. I think a plan of this kind peculiarly adapted for popular 
illustration ; because, if the appearance of any flower synchronizes with the ap- 
proach of its associate insect, and if the bird on airy wing, as it first meets the 
sunny gleam, tells us to look for the opening flower in its wonted haunt, then the 
images called up in the mind present an additional charm, and the various depart- 
ments of nature's vast domain, instead of being kept isolated, are concatenated 
together, and one pursuit agreeably relieves another. Much more is effected by 
this combination of study than when the naturalist is bound down to one depart- 
ment only ; for the botanist often unintentionally captures many insects with his 
flowering herbs, and the entomologist might, in like manner, gather many a bota- 
nical rarity while engaged in beating the bushes to replenish his collecting box. 
As nature herself delights in harmonious associations, so mankind are pleased 
with the combined array of all that her skill can produce, in the same way that a 
grand pictorial landscape, while true to the aerial outline of the distant mountains, 
traces, with the same fidelity, the lichened buttress and wild turret, dark in the 
cloudy shadow of the foreground. 



151 

To complete a plan similar to what I have here indicated would require 
many years of close and undivided observation to the subject, to say nothing 
of the active co-operation of others. At present, therefore, it would be immature 
to present it, but yet I think a few popular sketches might be roughly thrown off 
as studies which, if incomplete in their filling up, might not be altogether unin- 
teresting, either to the scientific proficient or the enthusiastic and inquiring stu- 
dent of the most pleasing pursuit under the canopy of heaven, whether health, 
recreation, observation, or deep and close research, be the object in view. I 
shall, therefore, commence this series of out-door " pencillings by the way" with 
a sketch of 

The First Day of Summer. 

A light rain has fallen, and there is a haziness about the distant landscape ; 
but the deep blue hills, half obscured amid the rolling vapours, now throw off their 
dishabille, and the huge clouds roll lazily about as if uncertain of their next design, 
and indisposed for any exertion. But there will be no more rain, for the white, 
starry Chickweed has unfolded its stainless petals, the Swallows and Martins are 
darting high in the air, and the white Cabbage Butterfly (Pontia brassicce) is 
careering to and fro. 

We will proceed by the river, then, whose red waters now totally obscure the 
long green tresses and snowy blossoms of the Water Crowfoot ( Ranunculus pan- 
tothriv, Dec.)* that so lately adorned the green shallows. And now that we have 
a mellowed gleam of sunshine through the light veil of the friendly clouds, what 
a pleasing scene presents itself to the eye. The rolling river, the green and 
golden meadows, the trees fresh in their leafy foliage, as if just created, the more 
distant groves passing into deep shadow, and the distant but noble line of moun- 
tain, neither blue nor green, but partaking of both, unscatched as yet by the 
fierce suns of maturer summer, diversified with rock and dingle, and yet so melt- 
ing into the aerial distance as if formed of the unsubstantial vapours whose gigan- 
tic but evanescent masses overshadow it. But let us view the scene more in de- 
tail, while the note of the Cuckoo, whose hoarseness has not yet attacked her, 
sounds pleasingly upon the ear. 

The Hawthorn has shed its snowy loveliness, except here and there, where, 
in retired recesses, a white bush of beauty, emblematical of lingering joys hoarded 
up to the last possible moment, still gleams amid the deep shadows of the over- 
bowering elms. The trees have now nearly attained their perfection of leafiness, 
and rustle their magnificent mantles in stately pride ; while the lighter green of 

* This elegant plant, whose long stem quivering with the current, sometimes the 
length of twenty-four feet, appears to me quite distinct from R. aquatilis. The latter 
flowers in April, but R. pantoihrix seldom before the first week in June, and, evanescent as 
a vapour, vanishes from the sight with the first rise of the waters. 



152 

the waving Poplar, the fresh viridescence of the Ash (whose old, beggarly, last 
years' tatters are, however, not quite concealed), and the olivaceous hue of the 
branching Walnut, bear witness to their later emergence into the glories of the 
scene. In the shrubbery, the Horse Chestnut ( JEsculus hippocastanum) towers 
its digitated leaves, where a few of its fading blossoms still linger, though lost in 
the distance ; but its glories are past ; and the Laburnum, too, gorgeous in its 
chains of gold, is also rapidly going out. These, and a host of others, combine 
in the distant grove that extends itself like a dark wall, gloomy with verdure. 

The meadows now claim our attention, where the yellow Ranunculus forms 
long curls of gold far among the green grass, and this golden tint is finely mel- 
lowed and heightened by the intervening red spikes of the tall sheep's sorrel. 
Here and there, too, the broad white disk of the great Daisy ( Chrysanthemum 
leucanthemum ) starts up, and the Cat's-ear and Crepis stretch out their yellow 
floscules in full glory, while the rich pink honeysuckle Clovers form a delightful 
contrast to the eye, and refresh the olfactory nerves with balmy fragrance. A 
crowd of minute yellow Trefoils, too, ramify amid the roots of the grass. On the 
bank of the river, where a minute tink of water descends through the spear grass 
in the deep trench it has worn for itself in the lapse of years, the Comfrey (Sym- 
phytum officinale) hangs its deep purple velvet bells, and the pink Lychnis ( L. 
Jlos-cuculi) decorates the same vicinity with its ragged petals that announce the 
approach of the summer solstice. Here, too, a patch of blue Speedwell ( V. cha- 
mcedrysj lingers, and the smaller azure-flowered Veronica heccahungx spreads 
its lengthened arms into the water itself, whence we have started the Grey Wag- 
tail from its nest. A band of gold stretches along the margin of the river, 
formed by the specious flowers of the wild Mustard ; while the purple disk of a 
thistle occasionally diversifies it, or the white-powdered Plantago media stands 
conspicuously forth, like a liveried lacquey waiting for orders. 

But the clouds are passing away, and the burning gleam of noon flashes upon 
the brightening scene. The Thrush is no longer heard quavering from amidst 
the oaks, and the noisy Chaffinch himself gives only an occasional twitter. A 
still brighter and hotter flash of radiance succeeds, and its energetic power calls 
forth the transcendant tribes of insects. The great Humble-bee booms in rapidly- 
shortening circles through the sounding air, and his compatriot, whose tail of 
red fire dashes along like a spark from a wheel, scarcely booms lower than he : 
another trumpeter sounds a shriller clangour as he rushes to the nectareous tube 
of the White Archangel, and a thousand minor buzzers give a voice to the air 
that steals over the distance with melodious effect. Now, rising over the grass, 
a host of black and brown Cantharida? ( C.fusca et livida), with red abdomens, 
appear conspicuous, while one of comparatively rarer occurrence, clothed in com- 
plete scarlet ( C. cardinalis, Shaw), seems to take his stand as an officer to com- 
mand them. These coleopterous insects, generally very numerous at this season 



153 

of the year are commonly called soldiers, and are often .caught and sported with 
by children. The cockchaffers ( Melolontha vulgaris) are not so numerous now 
as they have been, but one carelessly whirs by now and then, and the much 
smaller Scarbceus solstitialis now appears clustering round that half opened half 
destroyed Burnet-rose. A host of minuter insects, coleopterous and dipterous, 
animate the solar beams, and when the clouds intercept the bright rays, numbers 
may be observed resting on the leaves of plants, lurking in the broad shade of the 
trees, or even asleep in the flower-cups. 

The lovely Cowslips, late so beautiful, have all faded away, except that one tall 
tuft deep in the shade, overshadowed by the Witch-elm and its hop-like clusters ; 
and were not every primrose long ago fled, we might almost imagine that bright 
brimstone butterfly ( Gonepteryx RhamniJ was a blossom of one wafted before 
the playful breeze. The sun gleams now without a veil before him, and a host of 
azure blue butterflies appear sporting along the topmost spikes of the grass. We 
are covered with gramineous farina in chasing them, but they rise up opening their 
blue wings on every side almost as numerous as the thousand Eyebrights (Eu- 
phrasia officinalis), whose modest beauties, though half hid, we see at every step ; 
and vieing with the casrulean of the woolly-leaved Scorpion-grass. 

But what numbers of Aphides cover the stems of the plants around us. Let 
us pause at this dock. Here the Aphides are wingless and black, and clothe the 
topmost stems of the plant like a mantlet of the ancient Romans, presenting noth- 
ing but their polished black armour to the attack of the enemy, so closely cling 
they to the plant. And well have they need ; for a squadron of the small red Ants 
have found them out, and though they cannot carry them off yet they have found 
a prize which will save them the trouble of foraging for some time. See how 
they are passing over the Aphids, and now stopping and moving their antenna? 
about. They are regular lawyers, these Ants, and the poor Aphides their clients ; 
they have extracted all they can from them already, and are urging them 
for another fee, nor will they leave them till nothing further is to be obtained. 
The fact is that the excrement of the Aphis being derived from the juice of the 
plant is very sweet and clammy, and the Ants are so fond of it, that they devour it 
as fast as it is produced by the Aphides, and the supply being insufficient for the 
demand, though the Ants do not exactly, like the boy in the fable, kill the goose 
to get all the eggs at once, yet, having devoured all the honey-dew the Aphides 
have manufactured, they tickle and incite them as much as possible to produce 
more, which they immediately devour. Whatever may be urged in favour of Ants, 
in general, as an industrious and provident race, but little praise is due to those 
I am now alluding to, who are evidently idle marauders, escaped from the 
restraints of legitimate authority, and are here living an idle and luxurious life, de- 
pending entirely upon the labours of others. I have often wondered how Ants 
were enabled to find their way up the labyrinthine passages of tall spinous Thistles, 
vol. i. x 



154 



and the tortuous stems of Brambles, to the positions of the various tribes of 
Aphides which they seem to do with perfect ease. Having once got there, how- 
ever, they remain fixtures so long as the Aphides deposit their clammy sweet, 
without returning to their nests, as far as my observation goes. Even the large 
wood Ants ( Formica rufa) attach themselves in bands in this singular manner 
wherever any huge Thistle has a colony of Aphides upon it ; and there, per- 
haps, intoxicated with the luscious potion, they remain unconscious of any thing 
around them but the excitement arising from the continued drain from this living 
and ever-flowing bowl. Even when a plant thus circumstanced is gathered, the 
Ants seem very reluctant to forsake it, and unless compelled to leave, will still re- 
main upon it, though they are conveyed hundreds of miles from their domicile. 
It is indeed stated by entomologists that Ants keep flocks of Aphides in their nests 
for the supply of the colony, " milking" them regularly for the use of the inhabit- 
ants. That they could keep them alive under ground for any length of time, I 
should think unlikely, though certainly on one occasion I beheld an army of small 
black Ants engaged most busily in removing all the Aphides from a Raspberry 
bush in a garden, an operation which they performed with considerable celerity. 
In general, however, I think they do not remove them from the plants to which 
they are attached, nor even relieve each other to carry home the delicious spoil, 
but settle down selfishly to a long luxurious debauch. The Ant, therefore, is not 
to be considered in the light of an enemy to the Aphid, since he not only does 
him no injury, but hangs upon and literally incites him to further depredations. 

But a beautiful picture just opens by the water's edge. Behold where that 
forest of Club-rush ( Scirpus Sylvaticus ) in the marsh, exhibits its delicate white 
inflorescence ; there the brilliant dark green Dragon Flies (Agrion virgo) are 
fluttering their purple wings. What tints can match with the golden green of the 
male, or the splendid emerald hue of the female, as it now rests upon the stem of 
the Catabrosa aquatica, or sparkles out in the sunbeams, contrasting with the 
rosy towering spikes of the great Bistort ? Hosts of the Agrion puella too, are 
lightly balancing their fairy forms of the purest tints of sky blue over the cool 
waters, or resting upon the opening flower of the yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus J ; 
while the Libellula depressa with its fine slate blue abdomen, is rushing by on 
rapid wing, whirling against his rival, and chasing his yellow-tailed partner far 
over field and hedge, till resting for a moment from the fond pursuit on a dry 
hedge-stick, he seems, as the sun flashes upon his corselet, to be absolutely inhaling 
and drinking up the beams of light. But still more beauteous than all flutters 
the blue-green Agrion virgo, Fab., not mounting high in air, but softly gliding 
without an effort among the rushes and equiseti of that silver willowed covert by 
the river's brink, where the tall yellow Loosestrife is spreading out its golden co- 
rymbs. I love to behold them, for they come only with the established summer, and 
they sport in the most cool and delicious places, where the zephyr from the river 



155 



fans the rushes, and the ear is soothed with the murmur of the water. There they 
rest, hid in the recesses of the water plants. When I see them, the remembrance 
of my past summer days rushes upon me ; I think of the time when their purple 
fluttering wings and green brilliance first met my view, when I saw the world as a 
paradise created only for enjoyment, and knew not that, drilled by disappointment 
and commanded by care, I must take my place in the ranks, to fight with the dif- 
ficulties and troubles which life in its onward progress too soon unfolded to my 
view. 

But excessively beautiful as the Dragon-flies, or Demoiselles, as the French 
call them, confessedly are, and they are a favourite tribe with me, they are rapa- 
cious in the extreme, the very eagles of the insect world. They seem to flit 
along carelessly on easy wing above the flowery cinctured streams, as if bent only 
on contemplative enjoyment, or rise higher in air apparently to revel in the sun- 
beams ; but should any minuter insects appear in view, they dash upon them with 
the rapidity of the Falcon, their armed tarsi secures the victim, and their capaci- 
ous maw soon encloses him from sight. One of our largest species, ( Anax im- 
perator, Leach), may sometimes be seen in the very hottest blaze of a summer's 
noon, assuming to himself the sovereignty of an entire pool, round which he wings 
his superb flight, offering instant battle to any intruder, and keeping the course 
clear for himself only, with the utmost pertinacity. But although thus matchless 
in their aerial movements, those whose wings remain horizontal while at rest, when 
prostrate on earth or in a low situation, have considerable difficulty at once to give 
sufficient power to the muscles that set them in motion ; and I have often observed 
the great variegated Dragon-fly ( Libellula varia, Shaw) make many ineffectual 
efforts before it could rise from its position ; hence early in the morning they may 
be easily captured when found at rest. Once, however, on the wing, nothing can 
exceed the rapidity of their motion, and their able and diversified gyrations in the 
air. Now hovering low by the hedge side, a radiant beam glances upon their 
polished mail, and a jewelled blaze of sapphire and lapis lazuli flashes upon the 
eye — the next moment lost amid the labyrinthine foliage of the oak, they appear, 
vanish, and reappear, swift as meteors in the autumnal sky — now they are lost in 
the wood — again they hurry by with the velocity of an impelled arrow. Thus, in 
the fury of the chase they sometimes wander very wide from their usual haunts, 
dash over the recesses of the garden for insects, and are occasionally hurried out 
to sea. But mark, for a moment, the interesting attitude of that broad-backed yel- 
low Dragon-fly who seems falling into the pool, so close does she approach to the 
edge of the water. It is the female of Libellula depressa. She recovers herself 
ere she has quite touched the water, and rearing up extends her abdomen and de- 
posits an egg in the translucent element. On she flies repeating the curious pro- 
cess without rest, just touching the water with her abdomen, but never once over- 
balancing herself, while thus engaged on the wing in effecting the transposition of 

x2 



156 

her embryo burden to that element from which she herself once emerged, though 
its chill embrace would now involve her in destruction. Yet how fearlessly, how 
easily she accomplishes what might have been considered a difficult task ; not tim- 
orously clinging to a rush to perform the process, but circumvolitating the pool, 
depositing her eggs in the progress, and thus giving her offspring ample room and 
verge enough in the depths below for their future operations. And this bears the 
unmeaning name of instinct. But is not the Libellula while thus making provi- 
sion for her offspring in an element where she herself would now perish, sensible 
that she formerly emerged from the water, and that her offspring must there for 
their allotted time undergo the same processes of development which she passed 
through, prior to being fitted to sport in air and perform the economy of her ma- 
ture state ? At all events the contemplation of an incident like this is not without 
a note of instruction in the wide extended field of natural theology. 

The beautiful and elegant tribe of Libellulida; were all included by Linneus 
in one genus, and, as remarked by Stephens, the Linnean character of one species 
is so comprehensive that it positively embraces no less than two genera (Lestes, 
Leach, and Agrion, Fab.), one containing three, and the other ten, indigenous 
species in its extensive grasp ! and the consequence has been that Latreille and 
other celebrated entomologists assert that the sexes unite pell-mell together, and 
that the varieties resulting therefrom are innumerable ; whereas, the fact is that 
these insects are as particular in their amours as any others, and the varieties are 
equally referrible to their proper species, the male usually, however, differing from 
the female in colour. This last circumstance has caused some confusion in the 
naming of species ; and to be accurate in the study of this tribe it is indispensable 
to observe them when in union. Fabricius subdivided the Libellulida! into three 
genera, Libellula, JEnhna, and Agrion, which have been generally retained by 
entomologists, though much extended by Dr. Leach. I shall, however, here ad- 
here to the Fabrician arraugement, as sufficient for the present occasion, and 
perhaps a British example under each may be useful to the young inquirer. All 
the species of this tribe have two great lateral eyes, and three smaller ones or 
ocelli, situated on the vertex, antennae minute and almost concealed, strong cor- 
neous mandibles, wings extended horizontally or meeting vertically above the 
back, reticulated in an admirably delicate manner, and with the tarsi three- 
jointed. The larvae and chrysalides inhabit the water till the period of their ulti- 
mate metamorphosis, and bear a considerable resemblance in form to the perfect 
insect, but having only the rudiments of wings. They are remarkable for the sin- 
gular construction of the piece which replaces the lower lip, covering the mandi- 
bles, maxillae, and almost the whole under part of the head ; it has been compared 
to, and called by some, a mask. Having completed the initiatory period of their 
existence, the pupae issue from the water, climb up the stems of reeds and other 
aquatic plants, and, divesting themselves of their old skins, prepare for the enjoy- 



157 

ment of sporting in another element with appendages previously hidden from 
view and undeveloped in their beauty. 

I. Libellula, Fabricius. The individuals of this genus have their wings 
extended horizontally when at rest. The head is globular, and the eyes very 
large and approximating. Two ocelli on each side a vesicular elevation on the 
vertex, and the anterior one much larger. L. depressa is a well-known species, 
generally very common in May and June, dispersed on the margins of ponds all 
over the country, and hence easy of capture. It never seems to diminish or 
indeed materially to increase its numbers, though it is recorded by Blumenbach, 
from Voight's Neues Magazin, that in the years 1806 and 1807 they appeared 
in great crowds in Thuringia and the Hartz. The abdomen of the male is of a 
fine blue slate colour, which he displays very conspicuously as he shoots along ; 
that of the female is brownish yellow, with yellow spots on each side. Both are 
remarkable for the elegant black and orange markings at the bases of all the 
wings. L. depressa may be very frequently seen perched upon a dry hedge-stick 
in the hot sunshine, where he seems to be imbibing the solar rays, and darts 
off swift as an arrow if disturbed. 

L. quadrimaculata, a much rarer species, of a light brown colour, with 
hairy thorax, is distinguished by two conspicuous brown spots on the costal nerves 
of each wing, with a broad scorched-like mark at the base of each of the posterior 
wings. L. cancellata is another fine species. L. vulgatissimus, brown, with yel- 
low markings, may be met with in June about woods and hedges. 

II. iEstiNA, Fab. The JEshruz resemble the Libellula? in the position and 
bearing of their wings, and in the form of the head, but their two posterior ocelli 
are placed in a simple transverse elevation, in the form of a carina. M. Van der 
Hoeven lays some stress upon the cellulae at the base of the anterior wings, being 
larger in JFshna: than in Libellula;, and horizontally shaped, instead of inversely 
triangular ; while there is no difference between their anterior and posterior wings, 
which there always is in the latter. The abdomen is here narrow and elongated. 
2E. varia is a splendid insect : his size, varied colours, rapacious habits, and 
rapid flight, justly entitling him to the appellation of an " emperor of the insect 
world." The thorax is marked with four broad greenish-yellow stripes, and the 
abdomen is beautifully variegated with green and yellow, on a brown ground. 
Wings four inches in expansion, iridescent. This species is very partial to the vici- 
nity of woods, dashing with amazing velocity among the ramifications of the trees, 
while tints of dazzling splendour play on his resplendent armour as he shoots along. 
This insect flies later than most of his order, probably to catch the evening insects. 
Mr. Newman has placed the Libellulidcc in the centre of his septenary scheme of 
insect creation, as the type of Nature's perfection of skill and splendour in this 
division of animated life. " In this group," he observes, " we find the organs of 
sight, manducation, and locomotion carried to a greater degree of perfection than 



158 

we ever met with except in similar centres : like the king of birds, the Dragon-fly 
is unrivalled among his kind."* 

JE. grandL?,\ (Lin. and Stephens), ranks here, a noble species, scarce- 
ly inferior in size to the preceding : thorax and abdomen auburn brown, with 
brown glazed wings. JE. annulata ( Cordulegaster annulatus, Leach) has the 
thorax jet black with yellow lines and the abdomen brown with a yellow trans- 
verse line in the middle, and two yellow spots on the side of each ringlet. I found 
a dead specimen of this insect lying on the beach at Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, 
this autumn. 

III. Agrion, Fab. The Agriones differ from the other Libellulidse in their 
wings being elevated when at rest, the head being transversal, and the eyes dis- 
tant from each other. The ocelli are placed in a triangle, and the abdomen is 
cylindrical and linear. Perhaps in delicacy of form, silken splendour of attire, 
and elegance of veiny wing, they excel the other families of a tribe where elegance 
and splendour is the prevailing characteristic ; and hence the appellations of 
Virgo, Puella, and Sponsa have been poetically applied to them ; they have all, 
however, the predaceous habits of the tribe, but fly less swiftly, with hovering in- 
decision, and vagabondizing mostly in low marshy situations by the sides of 
streams, ponds, and rivers, often reposing on aquatic plants, are very easily taken. 
Their larvaB feed in the water, but their bodies are more attenuated than those of 
their congeners with a long tail. 

A. virgo ( Calepteryx virgo, Leach) we have previously described as of 
singular beauty. The beep-blue of the thoi'ax and abdomen, relieved by golden- 
green reflections, forms a splendid object. Wings without a real stigma, yellow- 
ish, with a deep purple stain in the centre. This is a social species, numerous 
squadrons being commonly seen sporting together on the reedy margins of rivers 
in June and July. 

A. puella. — Another social species, very delicate in form, of a lovely blue, 
and abundant about rural ponds as soon as the spring is firmly established, Un- 
der this name Linneus placed, as varieties, several forms, very similar in shape 
and habit, but differing in colour. He imagined these supposed varieties inter- 
mixed with each other, which is not the case ; and they now, therefore, are justly 
named as species. A. sanguineum, A. albicans, A. annulare, A. zonatus, A. 
rvfescens, &c, are all to be found in wet places and about pools, adding by the 

* Newman's Sphinx Vespiformis, p. 28. 

■j- The term grandis seems to have been applied to several species of the Llbellulida; re- 
markable for size and beauty ; and hence a confusion has arisen difficult to unravel with- 
out having the specimens of different authors before us. Linneus, in the last edition of 
the Syst. Nat., does not mention the colour of the abdomen; and some state it to be brown, 
and others spotted with green. L. maculatissima, of Stephens, was probably alluded to in 
the latter case. 



159 

beauty of their mazarine blue, sanguine green, and white tints, to the charms of 
those solitary spots, where, seated on the heath beneath the birchen shade, the 
tired Naturalist, while he rests his wearied frame, marks with pleasure the succes- 
sive gleams of coloured light, as band after band of these bright creatures flutter 
about the pink Polygoni or sober brown shaggy and wiggy Bulrushes. 

A. autumnalis (Lestes autumnalis, Leach) is a species that appears late in the 
year, with light-brown thorax and abdomen, and membranaceous wings marked 
with " an oblong-quadrate parallelopiped stigma." Unlike its congeners, its incon- 
spicuous colours render it an object of no attraction, and, coming with the close of 
summer amidst rains and falling leaves, its manners and habits have been little 
attended to or regarded. There is still much to be learned respecting this inte- 
resting tribe, both as regards their larva and perfect state ; and he who would 
publish a monograph of the British Libellulidae in English, with accurate figures 
of the whole, would be rendering a very acceptable service to entomological sci- 
ence, since I can refer to no English publication at present, for a description of 
all the species, though Mr. Stephens in his splendid work has much enlarged the 
Agriones. 

But while we have been thus dilating upon the Libellulidce, the sun shining 
forth with almost insufferable radiance, warns us that however congenial his heat 
may be to them, it is too powerful for us, and the shade of yonder oak coppice 
offers a grateful shelter. A spring over the brook, a crash upon the broad leaves 
of the Tussillago, and we are within it. How deliriously cool ; while not a 
sound breaks the stillness, and not even a vagrant fly molests us. Alone in 
gloomy quietude Paris quadrifolia lurks, with her single sable berry surrounded 
by the green calyx ; and springing up among the dead oak leaves the curious or- 
chideous plant Listera nidus-avis, can at a little distance be scarcely distinguished 
from them, though now opening her singular brown dead-like flowers. On, now 
then, to inhale the thymy fragrance of the hill top, where the minute flesh-coloured 
and delicate blossoms of the Ornithopus perpusillus couch lowly on the earth, 
spreading out their curious legumes in imitation of the feet of birds, and where in 
long trailing spikes the dark purple Milkwort (Polygala) spreads out her winged 
petals, and the blue Argus butterfly wantons among the rising brakes, just unfold- 
ing their curled-up fronds. But the Pheasant has just risen with a loud whir 
from the eggs she was sitting upon, and an alarmed gamekeeper who will know 
nothing of our " untaxed and undisputed game" is approaching. Perhaps on a 
future occasion, blue skies and sunny hours may urge us to be " abroad " again, 
gleaning delight amid the attractions of the woods and fields. 



REMARKS ON THE PRESENT NOMENCLATURE OF BRITISH 

ORNITHOLOGY, 

WITH A VIEW TO ITS REVISION AND CORRECTION. 

By the Rev. F. Orpen Morris. 

There is not, perhaps, any subject connected with ornithology on which so 
great a variety of opinions is entertained, as its nomenclature ; and while all Natu- 
ralists admit that the evil should be remedied, there are scarce any two who can 
agree as to the course to be adopted to effect this object. One probable means of 
attaining the great end which we all have in view, — a fixed and corrected nomen- 
clature of our native birds, — would be, by a deputation being appointed to meet 
together from various parts of the country, either at London, York, or Edinburgh, 
and consulting pro and con on the propriety of each name proposed or used — to 
establish it finally, or to erase it by common consent. But there is little probabi- 
lity — perhaps hardly any possibility — of this course being adopted : in the mean 
time the most reckless and gratuitous changes are prompted by the Naturalist's 
individual caprice. In briefly stating my own views upon this subject, as an hum- 
ble individual among the multitude of ornithologists who are arising up all around 
us, it is far from my wish to cast any slur upon their opinions should I find it 
necessary to animadvert upon them. I am only desirous of breaking the ice for 
some one more capable than myself to cross the lake. 

There are two classes of names in Natural History — generic and specific, with 
regard to which a difference of opinion has been, is, or may be entertained. Now, 
with respect to both of these, I will lay it down, in limine, as an absolute rule 
which is on no account to be deviated from, that, where alteration is unnecessary, 
it is unpardonable to alter ; and that no feeling of vanity, whether felt for one's 
self or one's friend — no insufficient or inadequately explored ground of opinion — 
ought to have weight to induce any writer to change an already established name, 
constituted with sufficient reason. With this broad principle all will, probably, 
agree ; but upon it there immediately arises the question, " What is a sufficient 
ground for alteration ?" and this involves a previous question, " What is sufficient 
to establish a name so that it should not be altered ?" Here it is that the differ- 
ence of opinion begins to extend so widely ; for scarcely any two Naturalists are 
agreed definitively on a single name. It is a singular fact that there is, probably, 
not a name (I mean among the better known and better investigated species, such, 
for example, as our British birds) which has not some one synonym at least, and 
most of them a great number : if, therefore, this mania is not checked, the evil 
will in time progressively extend to the whole catalogue of nature, and, as if her 
creatures were not already sufficiently varied and diversified, we shall increase 



161 

them to a tenfold number, " proceeding," as Mr. Burchell observes in The Vicar 
of Wakefield, " in a reciprocal duplicate ratio." One writer assigns a species to 
one genus, another to another, so that, assuming, for the sake of argument, that 
each is right, we shall ultimately have no distinction between genus and species — 
every species will comprise a genus, every genus will contain but one species ; and 
thus one representative name would answer the purpose of two, with half the trou- 
ble and twice the simplicity. 

With regard to generic names, Dr. Lindley says, "so impossible is it to con- 
struct generic names that will express the peculiarities of the species they repre- 
sent, that I quite agree with those who think a good unmeaning name by far the 
best that can be constructed." What Dr. Lindley means by " a good unmeaning 
name" it is difficult to say ; because, if the name be unmeaning, which he assumes, 
and in which he considers its excellence to consist, it would be well adapted for 
its purpose, provided it were not monstrous or ridiculous. If we admit the cor- 
rectness of his opinion, which I shall discuss presently, the matter, as far as gene- 
ric names are concerned, is settled at once ; but if we leave this a matter of un- 
certainty or of choice, assuming his proposition as to the impossibility of construct- 
ing generic names which shall express the peculiarities of the species, we shall 
then have a difficulty to encounter with this class of names, which does not meet 
us with the latter, because then it might be no easy matter to determine whether 
alteration would be needed or not — in connection, I mean, with the fitness or unfit- 
ness of such names. 

But it remains to be considered whether it is really better that the generic 
name should be unmeaning or not : and, first, it is evident that if a name can be 
selected whose meaning can express the peculiarities of the species, such a name 
is preferable to one which, having no meaning at all, can of course convey no in- 
formation as to the characteristics of any individual contained under it. That it is 
possible for such names to be employed is manifest in the cases of genera which 
contain only one species ; because, if a specific name can be chosen which will ex- 
press the specific difference of that kind, nothing can be more easy than to express 
the same by some other tautologous word ; or, if that is not practicable, it may be 
accomplished by the one name being expressed by a word of Latin, the other by a 
word of Greek, derivation. Again, even in the case of genera which contain 
more, or many more, species than one, I do not see, even here, what is gained 
by using a name which has no meaning ; but rather on the contrary it appears to 
me that something is gained if the generic name be capable of expressing even a 
part of the peculiarities of its species ; and I am inclined to believe that some 
generic name might be constructed to express even all of them, (without being of 
any immoderate length) although that is not indispensably necessary ; because if 
part of the peculiarity is expressed by the specific name, and the other part (com- 
mon, perhaps, to all the species) is expressed by the generic, the whole definition of 

VOL I. Y 



162 

the bird may then be conveyed — so far, at least, as it is possible to do so briefly 
in any two compounded words. It need not be stated, that no generic name 
should be contradictory of the existing circumstances of any of its species. 

But to pass on to the second class of names — the specific. In the first place, 
the last mentioned postulate is required also in their case, and if modern discove- 
ries should prove an error in any existing name, that is quite sufficient reason for 
its alteration ; at the same time all due deference should be paid to the original 
composer, and chief of all to Linneus ; and if some portion of the original name 
can be retained by alteration, instead of an entirely new one being formed, it 
would in all cases, I should say, be desirable. 

Secondly, the specific name should express, to the fullest possible extent, the 
peculiar characteristics of the bird ; but if a name already existing is unobjection- 
able in other respects, and has no other fault than that of not conveying so clear a 
meaning as some other new name, I do not think that a sufficient reason for alter- 
ing the original one. 

Thirdly, the specific name should not be founded on a generic character ; if 
it is, that is quite enough to authorize its alteration. 

Fourthly, the same specific name should not be used twice in the same genus, 
nor indeed twice at all, supposing that to be possible, as I think it is ; but this is 
a point which may admit of some doubt. 

Fifthly, they ought to express some peculiarity distinct from that of any other 
species in the same genus ; nor should they be derived from similarity of appearance 
to some other species, but rather from the habitat, food, or general appearance of 
the kind they represent. 

Finally, I would urge that specific and generic names should be classical ; and 
if any one think this a matter of minor importance, I would refer him to either of 
the classes in zoology, and then to determine whether the unintelligible barba- 
risms which will everywhere offend his eye and ear (if he has been at all used to 
more orthodox combinations) and the absolute jargon of such semi-graeco-latino- 
anglio forms as there abound, do not call loudly for " reform." What are we to 
think, for example, of erythrinus, pellucidator, torquilla, lacteator, rninutorius, 
pectoratorius, hyalinata, frondescent'm, nuficapitella, hyppolais, suhhimacu- 
lella, punctaurella, etc., etc., all of erroneous construction ? names selected at 
random, belonging to a class which contains thousands of equally offending species, 
and hundreds which offend ten times more grossly. Unhappily, the evil has taken 
such extensive root, that a man must possess no ordinary degree of perseverance 
who would sit down to revise and correct the whole list ; but something, it is evi- 
dent, should be done, and I think the existence of the evil alluded to in any spe- 
cies to be quite a sufficient reason for its alteration. It must be understood as 
professed, in forming our nomenclatures at all from the Greek and Latin lan- 
guages, that some propriety should be observed in the formation, and when this is 



163 

not attended to, it has not been intentional on the part of the nominator, but has 
arisen from inability, or carelessness, or from a wish to adopt a similarity of ter- 
mination. Connected with this subject is the desirableness of a similarity of ter- 
mination* in the names of the species of a genus, agreeing also, if possible, with 
the termination of the generic name itself; but I must decline giving my opinion 
whether this be feasible or not in all cases. As one great means towards effecting 
a classical uniformity of nomenclature, it appears to me desirable that generic 
names should be of Greek, and specific names of Latin, oingin ; this distinction 
has been already obscurely and insufficiently acted upon, as will appear by refer- 
ence to any general catalogue, but so inadequately and imperfectly as to form only 
exceptions to the rule. If the rule of grammatical propriety be not attended to in 
the first instance, any succeeding writer whose ear may be offended by the impro- 
per expression will feel called upon to alter the erroneous name ; and this, in very 
many cases, would cause so great an alteration in the form of the word as to add to 
the already too numerous list of synonyms. As an example, the first which occurs 
to me, and, therefore, by no means so strong a one as might be adduced, I will 
take the generic name of the common Brown Owl, Aluco auctorum. Now this 
word does not occur in the Latin language, but doubtless Alucus was intended, 
which may be found in all dictionaries (whether from the habits of the bird it has 
anything to do with " lucus a non lucendo" is more than I can say) : of this I was 
not aware when I first published my Guide to an Arrangement of British Birds, 
but as soon as I discovered the error I corrected it in the Supplement. The 
English names of our birds remain last to be considered, but for the present I 
must leave the subject : when I resume it, T will give a synoptical table of British 
ornithology, formed according to the rules laid down above, as the basis of a second 
edition of the Guide, which I am now preparing. 

( To be continued). 



ON THE CHELIFER. 



It has been generally admitted that the Chelifer, a species of small articulated 
octopod animal, does not spin a filament like their congener, the Spider. Mr. 
Lucas has, however, established that the Chelifers do possess the faculty of secret- 
ing a given number of threads, but to a smaller extent than those of the Spider, 
and under different circumstances of locality ; which, doubtless, led to the errone- 
ous opinion hitherto entertained by Naturalists on this subject. 

* Above all things, there should be no difference of gender in the several species of a 
genus. 

y2 



REMINISCENCES OF THE RHINE; 

ORNITHOLOGICAL AND ENTOMOLOGICAL. 

The following notices, made during a recent tour on the Rhine, may not be con- 
sidered altogether unworthy a place in the pages of The Naturalist, conceiving, 
as I do, that the slightest contributions, detailing facts, may assist others who, with 
more knowledge, perseverance, and means, may be treading the same paths, and ena- 
ble them to devote their attention to particular spots in search of those favourite ob- 
jects which the Naturalist, of whatever class he may be, hails with a delight un- 
known and incomprehensible to the non-observer of those minuter portions of the 
living world, who pass them by unheeded and disregarded, as unworthy of a mo- 
ment's contemplation. The time comprised within the limits of these observations 
was a period of about six weeks, commencing from the middle of June. When 
leaving England, I unfortunately omitted to re-provide myself with nippers and 
insect nets, which I had transferred to the hands of a friend embarking on a 
distant and arduous expedition— an omission I was unable satisfactorily to supply 
in any one of the large continental towns through which I passed, and which I the 
more regret as I was perpetually tantalized with glances at insects which, by the 
rapidity of their flight, eluded capture, and only left me to guess at their character 
and identity, without sufficient accuracy to enable me to record them with a cer- 
tainty of being correct in my opinion. But for this unfortunate deficiency, I have 
no hesitation in saying, that, from the numbers I occasionally saw, and the rich 
field of discovery afforded by certain localities, I might have added to my stock an 
hundred fold, and not thought it necessary to apologize for the brief reminiscences 
I have now in my power to bestow. 

I shall commence my list of birds with the Moor Buzzard, (Falco ceruginosusj. 
I can only speak positively to one specimen, seen through a telescope, as it rested 
immoveably, perched on the dead branch of a tree in rather a wild and open part 
of the country near Wiesbaden. I had watched its motions for some time as it 
slowly and sluggishly skimmed over the adjacent field and marsh grounds, and I 
have reason to suspect that some other birds of the Hawk tribe, which I had occa- 
sionally noticed soaring high in the air, were of this species, as the males, during 
the breeding season, which might be considered as scarcely passed, are said to 
elevate themselves to considerable heights, and remain suspended on the wing for 
a length of time. 

The Kite, (Falco milvus). I can well remember the time, in my boyhood, 
when two, three, or even more of these large and graceful birds might be seen 
almost any day winging their wide circles, and rising or descending in spiral 
flights ; but the race, in England, seems rapidly to approach extinction — whether 
from the increased vigilance of game-keepers, increase of population, or other 



165 

unknown causes, I leave for the determination of abler Naturalists. It was, 
therefore, with a sort of friendly feeling, associated with years long gone by, that 
I again hailed the appearance of these birds — abundant as once in my own land — 
soaring above me when in the valleys, or below me as I looked down on that splen- 
did view which bursts upon the sight from the battlements of the Attenschloss, or 
old castle of Baden Baden. In the latter case, when their airy forms, lightened 
up by the rays of a continental sun of which England is doomed never to know 
the brilliancy, were relieved by contrast with the dark shades of the pine-forest 
beneath, every graceful motion might be observed, the almost invisible quivering 
of the wing, the varied rudder-like guidance of the lengthy forkened tail — now 
lateral, now perpendicular — and the keen, penetrating eye, as the pirate of the 
woods floated slowly by on a level with the castle rock. From their numbers, it 
would appear that the gardes de chasse of the Grand Duke allowed them to exist 
unmolested. 

The Eagle Owl, ( Strix bubo). The only specimen I saw was an unfortu- 
nate captive, imprisoned in a wicker cage, in the most inappropriate situation ima- 
ginable for a solitary and hermit-like tenant of the forest and the wilderness. 
There he stood erect, with his bright, brilliant, glaring, golden eyes — now half- 
opening, now closing — then, shaded by the intervention of his nictitating mem- 
brane, exposed to the full light of the noon sun, with the additional reflection of 
the wide sheet of waters of the Rhine immediately before him. But this, perhaps, 
he counted the most insignificant of the daily evils he was doomed to suffer ; for 
his prison was within a yard or so of a public garden, filling up a vacant angle be- 
tween the entrance and the front door of one of the most crowded and noisy hotels 
in Cologne — inviting, by its juxta position to the public path, a visit from every 
passer by, man, woman, or child ; the former suffocating, and offending his nice 
sense of smell, by clouds of smoke from countless and ever-puffing cigars — the 
second deafening his ears by an incessant Babel of unknown tongues — and the 
third, in addition to cries and ejaculations, poking and annoying him with sticks 
or any other assailing materials within their reach : the garden, moreover, over- 
flowing from morning till night with visitors of all nations and descriptions, for 
whose amusement (most assuredly not for the Eagle Owl's) a loud military band 
was employed morning and evening, and, when required, at intermediate times, to 
exercise their vacation. 

It was said to have been taken in the neighbourhood, but the exact locality I 
could not ascertain. Poor bird ! How differently situated from the last I had 
noticed of his species on the Continent. At midnight, in one of the wildest gorges 
and dark forests of the Pyrenees, impinging on the dreary flanks of the Maladitta, 
I was roused from a reverie by a startling and unearthly shriek. It was the cry 
of the Eagle Owl, and I shall never forget it. 

Butcher Bird, (Lanius excubitor). Never having seen this species alive and 



166 

at liberty in England, I was at first rather at a loss to ascertain the name of a bird 
which allowed me frequently to approach within a few yards, as it sat on the pro- 
jecting twig of a bush in the vallies of the hilly district of Baden Baden. I can 
testify to the power assigned to it by some Naturalists, of varying its notes, or ra- 
ther imitating those of other birds. Not exactly, indeed ; for my first acquaintance 
with the Butcher bird was occasioned by hearing notes not entirely familiar to me, 
though much resembling those of the Stonechat. Following the sound, I soon 
discovered the utterer, and while listening, to my surprise, the original notes were 
discarded and others adopted of a softer and more melodious character, never, how- 
ever, prolonged to any thing like a continuous song. Its grave ash coloured garb 
with its peculiar black patch on the cheek, soon convinced me that my unknown 
friend was the Butcher bird, that petty tyrant of its neighbourhood, carrying on in- 
cessant warfare and wanton waste of life amongst the small fry of the passerine order, 
and whose war-cry was wont to set a host of minor warblers to flight. When con- 
templating the plump, comfortable, tame-looking bird before me, its placid look and 
mild demeanour beaming, as far as externals might be depended on, with benevo- 
lence and good will to every songster of the grove, I could scarcely persuade my- 
self that its character had not been grossly libelled, and that such a picture of bon- 
homie was not, in truth, the friend and guardian of his lesser feathered brethren. 
But that his tender mercies were cruel was a fact too firmly established to admit of 
doubt ; and as be flitted away to a distant spray, I was left alone to meditate on the 
truth of the adage, applicable to birds as well as men, nimium ne crede colori. 

The Golden Oriole, ( Oriolus Galbula). I might for a moment have had 
my doubts as to the specific identity of the last mentioned bird, but here there can 
be neither error nor hesitation. On the least observing, this concentrated essence 
of golden plumage obtrudes itself ; and who that has ever once seen this passing 
meteor of brightness, even on the wing, can doubt of its being the Golden Oriole. 
I saw but one in a state of freedom ; its presence adding one more item towards 
perfection in the lovely entrance of the valley leading to the mineral springs of 
Tonestein, and the solitary lake and convent in the circuitous route between 
Briihl and Andernach. I could not find that they were common anywhere ; if, 
indeed, plentifully distributed over the country, they ought to be much oftener 
seen, as they are in the habit of frequenting orchards or gardens ; being, like our 
Jays, sad thieves when the ripened cherry-trees tempt them to become purloiners. 
I suspect, however, that they are locally gregarious ; for a French Naturalist once 
assured me that, in his roamings through the forests of his district, months often 
passed without his falling in with a single bird ; whereas, at other times, not limit- 
ed to particular seasons, he occasionally found them in comparative abundance. 
In the public market at Cologne I saw a pair of young ones in nearly full plumage, 
for which I was asked the moderate sum of three shillings. Had my steps been 
bending downwards on the Rhine, instead of upwards with a long journey before 



167 

me, assuredly these two birds should at this moment have formed a part and par- 
cel of my domestic establishment, and you, Mr. Editor, might have haply been gra- 
tified with a more minute detail of the habits of this beautiful portion of the fea- 
thered creation. 

Storks, (Ciconia). Who that has traversed Holland, Belgium, &c, has 
has not exclaimed, as they first caught sight of these birds, " Look at the Storks !" 
as one or two, statue-like, motionless as mai-ble, balanced on a single slender leg, 
presented themselves to view, perched on the summit of a picturesque chimney top, 
like a grotesque colume whose capital was an overhanging bush of thorns and 
twigs. There they stand, with the addition, if later in the season, of some two, 
three, or four queer-looking, puffy, amorphous-looking things by them, which, but 
for projecting beaks ever and anon gaping and shutting with a sort of clacking 
sound, might be taken for an accumulation of cotton fluffs. Should only one of 
these immoveable sentinels be on its post, the spectator will do well to continue on 
the watch ; for in a very few minutes his attention will be drawn to the arrival of 
a partner in the nursery proceedings of the chimney top, slowly and gracefully 
gliding through the air, and taking position within neck's reach of the puff-bodied 
offspring. Pausing for a moment, the fresh comer's neck is stretched forth, and the 
head bent at a right angle, so as to place the beak in a perpendicular position between 
the mandibles of one of the expectant candidates for the produce of the parental 
craw. Another moment's pause, and then the perpendicular beak, opening with 
a sort of spasmodic jerk, disgorges the result of its forage in their fens and 
marshes, with unerring aim, down the throat of the recipient young one, which, 
with quivering extacy, gulps down the semi-digested mass of frogs, minnows, or 
other gelatinous materials provided for the repast ; which being finished, all the 
parties concerned resume, for a time, their motionless and noiseless attitude. They 
look the pictures of meditation ; and who shall say that those grave heads are not 
dwelling on subjects surpassing man's understanding ? There is one who has 
given them a power of thought and discrimination unpossessed and unintelligible 
to us, by which, with a truth which sets the skill of the most experienced navigator 
at defiance, the Stork learneth its appointed time, and when and how to wend its 
way to other regions destined to be its residence for the remainder of the year. 
Were these feathered philosophers allowed utterance but for an hour, how much 
might they disclose of the instinctive machinery whereby the Creator provides for 
the well-being of all his living works ! and with what admiration should we be 
made partakers of this additional development of the expansive agency of Omni- 
potence ! 

I shall conclude my few ornithological remarks by alluding to the small 
number of birds, generally speaking, usually met with on the continent. These 
observations have been forced upon me repeatedly in the many excursions I have, 
at various times, made in all directions. Magpies, Jays, and even Crows, are, in 



168 

many districts, almost rarities , for miles and miles may be often passed without 
seeing one. The lesser birds are, also, in like manner, comparatively scarce ; 
Sparrows, which, whether in London streets or our rural lanes, meet us at every 
step, are by no means plentiful on the other side tbe water ; but in many parts, and I 
may instance Baden and environs in particular, Chaffinches appear not only to oc- 
cupy their place, but assume their bold character. For one Sparrow I have counted 
twenty or more Chaffinches ; and those who, like myself, may have preferred break- 
fasting under the shady trees in the beautiful grounds adjacent to the castle at 
Heidelberg to the common room of the hotels in the town below, will bear me 
out in testifying to the boldness of the Motacilla coelebs. I have seen them re- 
peatedly not only contend with each other for the crumbs within a yard of my feet, 
but even perch on the table and carry off the pieces of bread I placed within their 
reach. 

Before finally dismissing the subject of birds, I cannot help referring to the 
admirable collection in the museums at Leyden and Bonn — but more especially 
the former — both excellent in all respects. I must, however, confine myself to 
the case in point, and refer to the unrivalled collection of ornithological skeletons, 
set up and prepared in the most perfect manner ; and I am induced to allude to it 
more particularly, with a hope that this highly important branch of Natural His- 
tory may be more attended to in our own museums. The comparative anatomy of 
birds is in itself a subject of the highest interest on every account, and is entitled, 
I should venture, with all deference, to assert, to at least as much, if not more, 
attention than the outward form and garb ; and yet in our own country there is 
scarcely a museum where the slightest is paid. Probably the difficulty of preparing 
skeletons may have acted as an obstacle. I am perfectly aware of the nicety re- 
quired and the disappointments that too frequently ensue ; and perhaps, Mr. Editor, 
I cannot do better than to entreat you to call upon your friends and readers, who 
are competent, to the task, to afford, through the medium of the pages of Hie 
Naturalist, the best modes of making these preparations. What an invaluable 
addition would it be to our practical knowledge, if chemistry could point out any 
corrosive substance which would rapidly decompose the flesh without destroying 
the ligatures by which the bones are held together ! 

[To be continued.] 



OBSERVATIONS ON THE BRITISH SPECIES OF MYOSOTIS. 

By Robert J. N. Streeten, M. D. 

In the Species Plantarum of Linneus four species of the genus Myosotis are 
enumerated. Two of these are now referred to Echinospermum ; of the remaining 
two, the Myosotis scorpioides is the only one with which we are, at present, con- 
cerned. Under this name the immortal founder of systematic botany — for until 
his time the science was little more than a rudis indigestaque moles, a confused 
mass of observations beyond the powers of the most retentive memory to retain — 
appears to have included several of the now recognized species, three of which he 
indeed characterizes as varieties. Of these varieties the first, a , is the Myosotis ar- 
vensis of the Swedish botanists and of Hooker's British Flora ; the second, ft is 
the M. palustris of modern authors, the true Forget-me-not ; and the third, 
y, is the M. versicolor of Lehman and others. Our countryman, Ray, had 
already recognized these varieties, and Dillenius had added another, the Myosotis 
scorpioides latifolia hirsuta (M. sylvatica of Hooker's British Flora}., of which 
he gives a figure. This last, however, appears to have been first admitted as a 
distinct species of the flora of this country by Sir James Smith, in his English 
Flora, under the name of M. intermedia, although he erroneously refers the 
plant of Dillenius to his M. sylvatica, which is the M. arvensis of the British 
Flora ; Hudson had previously admitted it as a variety of M. scorpioides in his 
Flora Anglica, in addition to those described in the Species Plantarum. Sir 
James Smith and Sir William J. Hooker have not only recognized the preceding 
as species but have admitted three new ones — the M. alpestris of Schmidt, the 
M. cosspitosa of Schultz (?) and the M. collina of Hoflman ; which last is the M. 
arvensis of the English Flora, although with some erroneous synonyms. To 
these may, perhaps, be added the M. repens of Don, which is admitted as a dis- 
tinct species by some foreign botanists, although it has hitherto been considered, 
by British authors, as a variety merely of M. palustris. 

Having made these preliminary observations, I proceed now to give the charac- 
ters of the genus and species, with such remarks as may be required for their 
further elucidation. 

Myosotis, Linn. — Scorpion Grass. 

Linnean Class, Pentandria — Order, Monogynia. 

Natural Order, Boraginece, Jussieu. 

Gen. Char. — Calyx five-cleft or five-toothed. Corolla salver-shaped, with a 
short tube; the lobes obtuse, emarginate; the mouth half-closed, with short 
rounded scales. Nuts smooth, perforated at the base. 
vol. i. z 



170 

1. M. palustris, " Kiphoff," ( Great Water Scorpion Grass. Forget-me- 
not). Calyx with straight appressed bristles ; when in fruit campanulate, with 
short, broad, spreading teeth, shorter than the divergent pedicels. Limb of the 
corolla flat, longer than the tube. Pubescence of the stem spreading. Racemes 
leafless. 

M. palustris, Eng. Bot., 1. 1973 ; With., ed. 3, v. ii., p. 225 ; Smith, Engl. Fl., 
v. i., p. 249; Borr. in Hook. Br. Fl., ed. 3, p. 101. M. scorpioides, /}, Linn., 
Sp. Plant., p. 188. M. scorpioides, S, Huds., p. 78. M. scorpioides palustris, 
Raii Syn., p. 229. 

Ditches and sides of rivers ; common. Perennial ; flowers from June to Sep- 
tember. Roots long and creeping. Herb bright green. Stems from twelve to 
eighteen inches high, ascending, branched, leafy, clothed with short, spreading, bristly 
hairs. Leaves sessile, elliptic-oblong, rough, with appressed bristles. Flowers in 
long leafless clusters, very beautiful, of a bright blue colour and enamelled ap- 
pearance. This is the true Forget-me-not ; the Vergiss me nicht of the Germans. 
The elegance and enamelled brilliancy of its soft blue flowers has rendered this 
little plant a general favourite, and drawn to it the attention of the poet and the 
moralist. The legend to which it owes its popular name is not generally known, 
and may, therefore, not be unacceptable here. A young German maiden, walk- 
ing with her lover by the side of a brook or stream, whose sparkling waters were 
rolling rapidly along its course, observed the flowers on the opposite bank. At- 
tracted by their beauty, she expressed a wish for them ; when the young man in- 
stantly plunged into the stream, the deceitful clearness of whose waters disguised 
the depth. He with difficulty reached the opposite bank so as to obtain the 
flowers, but was immediately carried away by the force of the current. Hastily 
throwing them to his beloved, and exclaiming " Vergiss me nicht ! Ver- 
giss me nicht /" — Forget-me-not ! Forget-me-not ! — he sunk to rise no more. 
The memory of the unfortunate youth, and the faithfulness of the disconsolate girl, 
have ever since been preserved in the name of the flowers, and the Forget-me-not 
has, from this period, been considered as the emblem of constancy and truth — of 
friendship and love. The following lines, expressive of this emblematical signifi- 
cation, are a nearly literal translation of a stanza in a very beautiful poem called 
Die Sprache der Blumen, or the language of flowers : 

" Anxious and care-worn is thy lot ? 
Behold yon floweret in the murmuring stream, 
Friendly, and light, and blue, its star-like gleam : 

Love names it the Forget-me-not. 
Would'st thou thy life not waste in sorrow vain, 
With holy hands the truth thou wilt retain."+ 

f From the German of Schreiber. 



171 

2. M. repens, Don, MSS., (Creeping Scorpion Grass J. M. palustris, fi, 
Hook., Scot., p. 67. 

I am unable to give the character of this plant, as I have had no opportunity of 
seeing specimens, or of consulting a description ; the short, broad teeth of the 
calyx are, however, so constant in M. palustris, and the value of the characters 
derived from the calyx in this genus so generally admitted, that we can scarcely 
refuse to adopt the suggestions which have been thrown out respecting this plant, 
without, at the same time, invalidating almost the only distinctive marks which we 
have for discriminating the species of Myosotis in general. Mr. Borrer observes — 
" Perhaps M. repens, Don, may be specifically distinguished by the deeply-divided 
calyx (which I pointed out long ago to Sir J. E. Smith) and the copious pubes- 
cence of that part. Its racemes are not always, although very often, leafy." — 
Hook. Br. Fl., ed. 3, p. 101. And in a note it is stated — " Mr. Backhouse ob- 
serves to me that the bracteas among the pedicels are constant ; the laciniae of the 
calyx narrower and shorter (?) than in M. palustris, full half as long as the calyx, 
and the whole plant smaller : the calyx is nerved. It flowers earlier by two 
months in the higher parts of Yorkshire than M. palustt'is does in the lower." 
It is found in moist situations in Scotland (Messrs. G. and D. Don J and in the 
higher parts of Yorkshire (Mr. Backhouse J. 

8. M. lingulata, Lehman ? (Lesser Water Scorpion Grass). Calyx with 
straight appressed bristles ; when in fruit campanulate, with broad spreading teeth, 
shorter than the divergent pedicels. Limb of the corolla concave, equalling the 
tube. Pubescence of the stem appressed. Racemes leafy. 

M. lingulata, Lehm., Asperif., p. 110? M. cozspitosa, Schultz ? Smith, 
Engl. FL, v. i., p. 450 ; Engl. Bot., t. 2661 ; Borr. in Hook. Br. Fl, ed. 3, 
p. 102. 

Ditches and watery places ; common. Annual or biennial ; flowers from May 
to August. Root fibrous. Herb lax, pale green. Stems about a foot high, 
throwing out fibres from the lower joints, ascending, slender, leafy. Leaves 
shorter and somewhat broader than those of M. palustris. Flowers smaller. 
Calyx more deeply divided. The specific name caispitosa is so singularly inap- 
propriate that I cannot but suppose there must be some error in quoting Schultz 
for this plant under that name, although I have not the means of satisfying myself 
upon this point. At all events, Lehman's name of M. lingulata, if, indeed, it 
applies to the same species, is not only more applicable, but has the claim of pri- 
ority in respect of publication. I have foreign specimens of a plant which may 
possibly be the M. caispitosa of Schultz ; of which the following are the charac- 
ters. Calyx with straight appressed bristles. When in fruit campanulate with 
lanceolate teeth, equalling the recurved pedicels. Limb of the corolla flat, longer 
than the tube. Pubescence of the stem appressed. Racemes leafless. The habit 
is that of M. palustris but the whole plant is much smaller, my specimens being 

z2 



172 

from two to four inches high. Root of several long fibres. Stems erect, appa- 
rently tufted. The flowers are equal in size and beauty to those of M. palustris, 
but the pedicels are recurved and rather shorter than the calyx which is nearly 
half five-cleft and its segments narrower and deeper than those of M. palustris. 

4. M. alpestris, Schmidt, (Rock Scorpion Grass.) Calyx with straight 
bristles, the lowermost incurved, deeply five-cleft, when in fruit campanulate, 
straight, shorter than the slightly spreading pedicels. Limb of the corolla flat, 
longer than the tube. Root-leaves on long stalks. Racemes leafless. 

M. alpestris, Hook. Scot., p. 66. ; Smith, Engl. FL, v. 1., p. 252. ; Borr. in 
Hook., Br. FL, p. 102. M. rupicola, Engl. Bot., t. 2559. 

Highlands of Scotland, on the Breadalbane range. Perennial ; flowers in July 
and August. Root fibrous. Stems from four to six inches high, leafy, clothed 
with spreading hairs. Flowers large, of a brilliant blue, as beautiful as those of 
M. palustris. 

5. M. sylvatica, Hoflm., ( Wood Scorpion Grass J. Calyx with spreading 
hooked bristles, deeply five-cleft, when in fruit ovate with closely converging teeth, 
shorter than the divergent pedicels. Limb of the corolla flat, longer than the 
tube. Root-leaves on short dilated stalks. Racemes leafless. 

M. sylvatica, Hook. Scot., p. 66. Borr. in Hook. Br. FL, ed. 3, p. 103. 
M. intermedia, Smith, Engl. FL, v. 1, p. 250, (excl. syn.) M. scorpioides, y, 
Huds., p. 78. M. scorpioides latifolia hirsuta, Dill, in Raii Syn., p. 229. 
t. 9., f. 2. 

Dry shady places ; Essex and Kent, Dillenius ; Norfolk, Rev.R. B. Francis; 
woods ; North of England ; and Lowlands of Scotland, Sir W. J. Hooker. Pe- 
rennial ; flowers in June and July. Herb of a dull green and covered with lax 
hairs. Leaves oblong, broader than those of M. arvensis. Flowers nearly as 
large as those of M. palustris. Mr. Borrer observes, various authors and culti- 
vators pronounce this plant perennial, (Fries says " perennans," Wahlenberg " sub- 
perennans,") whilst the following species (M. arvensis, Hoffm.) is indubitably 
annual, between which and the present individual I can point out no other dis- 
tinctive characters more satisfactory than the somewhat more deeply divided calyx 
of M. sylvatica, its shorter and less remarkably hooked bristles, the broader 
and flatter corolla, and the greater size of the whole plant." (Hooker's British 
Flora, ed. 3., p. 103.) Sir J. Smith, in the English Flora, has strangely con- 
founded the synonyms of these two plants and certainly misapplied that of Dille- 
nius to his M. sylvatica, which is M. arvensis of the British Flora, but there is 
no ambiguity either in the description of his M. intermedia or in the character 
which he assigns to it. They have obviously been drawn up from this plant, M. 
sylvatica, and there can be no hesitation, therefore, in referring M. intermedia of 
the English Flora here. I am inclined to think that this species is by no means 
common. 



173 

6. M. arvensis, Hoffm., (Field Scorpion Grass). Calyx with spreading 
hooked bristles, half five-cleft, when in fruit ovate with closely converging teeth, 
shorter than the divergent pedicels. Limb of the corolla concave, equalling the 
tube. Racemes with a leaf at the base. 

M. arvensis, Hook. Scot., p. 67, (excl. syn.) ; Engl. Bot., t. 2629 ; Borr. in 
Hook. Brit. Fl., ed. 3, p. 103. M. sylvatica, Smith, Engl. Fl., v. i., p. 251, 
(excl. syn.) ? M. scorpioides, u , Linn., Sp. Plant., p. 188 ; Huds. p. 78. M. 
scorpioides hirsuta, Raii Syn., p. 229. 

In fields, gardens, cultivated places, hedge-banks, &c. Very common. An- 
nual ; flowers from May to September. Root fibrous. Herb of a rather pale 
green, clothed with lax, spreading, soft hairs. Stems from 12 or 18 inches to 2 
feet high, branched above, leafy. Leaves oblong, the lower ones and root-leaves 
on dilated stalks. Racemes terminal, usually with a leaf at the base, and axillary, 
the terminal raceme forked, frequently with one flower situated exactly in the axil 
of the fork. Flowers smaller than in any of the preceding. This is, according 
to Fries, the " ipsissimam M. arvensem, Linn. ;" and, as Mr. Borrer observes, 
" the only one usually found in cultivated fields." Sir J. Smith's M. arvensis is 
probably the M. collina, Hoffm. ; although he appears to have had very indistinct 
ideas respecting this species, as well as the present. Indeed it is difficult to de- 
cide what his M. sylvatica may have been, and the description would seem to have 
been drawn up partly from this and partly from the preceding. Withering's M. 
arvensis refers especially to the present species, but includes, also, the preceding 
and M. versicolor, and probably, also, the M. collina of the British Flora. The 
M. arvensis is certainly the most common of our British species, and abounds 
along the borders of cornfields, under hedge-rows, &c, attracting attention by its 
long clusters of pretty blue star-like flowers, which, although neither so conspicu- 
ous nor so elegant as those of the true Forget-me-not, are yet sufficiently so to 
deserve the notice of the admirer of Flora's treasures. A fairy bouquet of jewels 
of no ordinary beauty may be formed from these sapphire-like flowerets, in con- 
junction with the small pink or amathystine rosettes of Geranium molle or Are- 
naria rubra, the pure- white pearly stars of many rays of Stellaria graminea, and 
the little golden Maltese crosses of Galium cruciatum. 

7. M. collina, Hoffm., (Early Scorpion Grass). Calyx with spreading 
hooked bristles, when in fruit ventricose open, equalling the recurved pedicels. 
Limb of the corolla concave, shorter than the tube. Raceme usually with one re- 
mote flower near the base. 

M. collina, Borr. in Hook. Br. FL, ed. 3, p. 103. M. arvensis, Engl. 
Bot., t. 2558 ; Smith, Eng. FL, v. i., p. 252, (excl. syn.). 

Sandy banks, walls, and dry places. Not common. Near Edinburgh, Dr. 
Greville ; near Hagley, Worcestershire. Annual; flowers April and May. 
Stems from two to six inches high, clothed, as well as the leaves* with open silky 



174 

pubescence. Flowers blue, very small, in simple racemes ; the lowermost flower 
usually remote, near the base of the raceme ; sometimes, though rarely, in the axil 
of the leaf from which it springs. Its flower-stalks are remarkably recurved when 
in fruit, in my specimens. It is probable that this species, in consequence of its 
early flowering and fugacious nature, may frequently escape notice ; but I am con- 
vinced that it is not a common plant, as the above station on a sand-bank near 
Hagley, is the only one in which I have hitherto detected it. The smaller varieties 
of M. arvensis are probably sometimes confounded with this species ; and judging 
from the list of synonymes in the English Flora attached to the M. arvensis of 
its lamented author, which is really this plant, Sir James Smith does not appear to 
have been exempt from this error. 

8. M. versicolor, Lehm., ( Yellow and Blue Scorpion Grass J. Calyx with 
spreading hooked bristles, when in fruit oblong, longer than the almost erect 
pedicels. Limb of the corolla concave, shorter than the exserted tube. 

M. versicolor, Eng. Bot., t. 2558 ; Hook. Scot., p. 67 ; Smith, Eng. Fl, 
v. i., p. 253 ; Borr. in Hook. Br. Fl., ed. 3, p. 104. M. scorpioides, P>, Huds., 
p. 78. M. scorpioides, v, Linn., Sp. Plant., p. 189. M. scorpioides hirta minor, 
Raii Syn., p. 229. 

Dry sandy fields and pastures, on walls, in wet meadows, &c. Common. An- 
nual ; flowers from April to June. Root fibrous. Stem four to six inches high, 
branching from the base, clothed with lax whitish hairs, leafy. Flowers upon long- 
stalked racemes, changing colour from yellow to blue as the spirally-curved summit 
of the stalk is unfolded. The calyx is very deeply cleft, more than three-fourths 
of its length, and by no means closed when in fruit, as stated in the British 
Flora. The succession of blue and yellow flowers is a very curious fact, and one 
which deserves more investigation than it has yet received ; as the change of 
colour from yellow to blue is not easily accounted for. There can, however, be 
little doubt that it really occurs, as an attentive examination of the flowers shews 
that the upper or younger ones, as Mr. Borrer has remarked, are always yellow, 
while the lower or older ones are as constantly blue. This plant attains a consi- 
derable elevation : I have found it growing luxuriantly on the North Hill, Mal- 
vern, near the summit, (which is about 1400 feet above the level of the sea), and 
also on the top of Ankerdyne Hill. But, notwithstanding the high authority of 
the authors of the English and British Floras, I am disposed to think that it is 
not generally of very common occurrence. It is certainly not frequent in the 
neighbourhood of Worcester ; and the late Mr. Purton, in his excellent Midland 
Flora, marks it as rare, giving only the habitat on the Malvern Hills, where I have 
myself found it. 

The various colours of the flowers and other parts of plants have been 
supposed to be owing to variations in the degree of oxydation. Light obvi- 
ously exerts great influence in developing colours : thus the leaves of plants 



175 

may be blanched by excluding them from this agent. Lettuces, endive, celery, 
kale, and other vegetables, are prepared for the table by preventing the access of 
light, as in the operations of tying up the leaves, earthing the roots, or covering 
the whole plant with opaque earthen pots. The bleached pallid appearance of 
greenhouse plants which have been kept in situations where the light has not been 
sufficiently admitted, arises, also, from the same cause ; while the brilliancy and in- 
tensity of the colours of flowers in tropical and alpine countries is owing to the in- 
tensity of the light and the clearness of the atmosphere in such situations. Expo- 
sure to light, therefore, tends to develop the colours of plants ; but in what way the 
effect is produced is not so evident. Whether it arises from any chemical change 
in the state of oxydation, or from any physical variation in the optical properties of 
the vegetable tissues from their more vigorous growth and nutrition when under 
the stimulus of this powerful and pervading influence, does not seem clear. The 
green parts of plants, especially the leaves, exhale oxygen, as is well known, on 
exposure to the light of the sun ; while the coloured parts, such as the flowers, 
more frequently exhale hydrogen and azote. By the action of alkalies, also, the 
red colour of many flowers becomes, in succession, blue, green, and ultimately 
even yellow — a change which may possibly be owing to their acting as deoxydiz- 
ing principles. The change in the blossoms of the Myosotis versicolor is from 
yellow to blue, and ultimately to faded purple or red — that is under exposure to 
the light, which, as it induces the exhalation of hydrogen and azote from the 
coloured parts, tends, therefore to the accumulation of oxygen in the same parts, 
the yellow passes successively into blue and a faded purple or pink. I have, how- 
ever, never observed any approach to the intermediate stage of green between the 
yellow and the blue flowerets of M. versicolor. The investigation of the 
causes to which the colours of flowers are owing is very important, both in relation 
to vegetable physiology and to optics ; and this little plant seems well calculated, 
when submitted to judicious experiments, to afford valuable information to the in- 
quirer into these interesting arcana of natural and physical science. 



Boa Constrictors. — A recent traveller in South America, journeying from 
Lima to Vara, in the Brazils, observed that the inhabitants of the latter place take 
great pleasure in rearing the Boa Constrictor (quere Python Tigris) ; and that 
Mr. Smith, the North American consul, possesses several for the purpose of de- 
stroying Rats, with which those parts are terribly infested. These creatures 
sometimes attain the length of eighteen feet, and the colours of their skin are bril- 
liant beyond description, particularly after moulting. They have never been 
known to injure any one, and even exhibit local attachment to places and persons. 



PHOSPHORESCENT APPEARANCE OF THE SEA. 

By C. Dubois, F. G. S. 

At certain seasons of the year particularly, the sea presents, at night, a lumi- 
nous appearance — small sparks being, as it were, constantly emitted in quick suc- 
cession, similar to an electrical series. Naturalists have long been undetermined 
as to the precise cause of this pleasing phenomenon ; but their explanations are 
sometimes contradictory, and often doubtful. By some it was ascribed to electri- 
city or magnetism ; by others to the putrescent state of vegetable or animal matter 
floating on the surface of the water ; others, much nearer the truth, attributed the 
phosphorescent appearance of the sea to myriads of luminous animalculae ; and 
there is nothing to prevent the conclusion that these different opinions have, when 
united, explained the principal features of the phenomenon ; but the error lies in 
exclusively ascribing it to either. 

The luminosity of the sea is evidently due, in many instances, to the presence 
of excessively numerous animalculae, possessing the property of throwing out small 
bright sparks while they are alive and in a state of activity : it may, also, occur 
that the vegetable and animal rejectimenta exhibit a phosphorescent light ; other 
simple mucous substances, incapable of definition, may do the like ; and various 
mysterious chemical combinations may also contribute to the same effect : but, 
generally speaking, the luminous brilliancy of the sea is most frequently occasioned 
by marine animalia. Animal phosphorescence is either general or particular : in 
the latter case, it is produced by animals of a greater or smaller structure, and not 
numerous in a circumscribed space : these are polypi, radiata, medusae, pyrsomae, 
biphorae, and some species of fishes, &c. The general phosphorescence of the 
sea: — which always extends over a far greater limit — must, therefore, be attributed 
to myriads of microscopic animals. Peron, Eschscholtz, Quoy, Gaimard, Mer- 
tens, Surriray, Lesson, and many other distinguished Naturalists, have described 
these animals, and observed that they lose their luminous property after death, or 
in consequence of a loss of activity. In hot and tempestuous weather, these ani- 
mals are most abundantly seen, and their phosphorescence more considerable. It 
is easy to convince ourselves that to their existence the luminous appearance of 
the sea, in certain situations, can alone be attributed ; since a quantity of water 
exhibits light in a receptacle, so long as it contains living animals of that species, 
and it ceases to be so if they are deprived of life by the insertion of a tin wire 
into the water. 

In the ocean, and on the French coasts, the animal producing this phenome- 
non is named, by M. Surriray, Noctiluca miliaris ; and we here give its portrait, 
immensely magnified, since its natural size does not exceed 1 -1000th of an inch. 



177 



It belongs to a group of the actinozoaria, or radiated animals ; and De Blainville 
places it in the Diphydce. 




The Noctiluca miliaris, here figured, is of a globular form, to which is attach- 
ed a peduncle or tail-like appendage ; and its interior exhibits, through the pellicle, 
numerous radiating vessels emanating from an ellipitical centre, placed nearer to 
one side of the circle than the other. During life, these appear to dilate and 
expand ; and the phosphorescent property lies in them, but is only exhibited 
during a state of activity, when their motion is too rapid to be observed, resembling 
a quick pulsation. The whole globular mass being propelled in every direction by 
a jerking motion of the pedunculated stem, the extreme difficulty of catching sight 
of one of these little restless creatures in a humour to be minutely examined, pre- 
vents a more detailed description ; but we beg leave to call the attention of Natu- 
ralists so situated as to have frequent opportunities of investigating their structure, 
in order to elucidate more clearly the singular natural phenomenon produced by 
this wonderful Marine Illumination Company. 



A Correspondent is desirous of ascertaining the best existing catalogues 
in the various departments of Natural History. He wishes to know from what 
works, whether professedly catalogues or not, the most comprehensive lists may 
be obtained of the different classes of animated nature, by adding which together, 
the amount of the grand total might be roughly guessed at — as far, at least, as 
our present confessedly scanty knowledge of the hosts by which we are surround- 
ed would allow us. 

vol i. 2a 



OVA OF THE SKATE-FISH. 

Having discovered that a peculiar-looking substance, apparently the seed of 
some kind of sea-weed, was, in fact, the egg of the Skate-fish, I was induced to 
examine the same more minutely : in doing which I made the following observa- 
tions : — 

This egg is of a pale sea-green colour, becoming darker with age ; in form it is 
a quadrangle, having at each corner long tuberous projections run- 
ning parallel to each other from the narrow side of the shell, thus : ^) d! 
These horn-like tubes are open at their ends, through which the 
sea-water is admitted. The shell is tough, elastic, and extremely difficult to open 
— indeed not easily with the assistance of a knife — and very liable to shrink when 
laid to dry, unless it is first filled with sand. They differ much in size, depending, 
I am inclined to believe, on the size of the fish. On some shells I have observed 
sea-weed growing — an interesting fact, as it shows either the rapidity with which 
sea-weed will spring up, or the length of time before the fish is perfect ; perhaps 
both, for one fish, which appeared on the verge of breaking the shell, I kept for 
examination, and it was one month before it assumed a perfect state. 

As it would be tedious to mention the state of perfection the fish was found in, 
I will confine myself to the following observations : — 

On opening the shell, a substance, having motion, is found, but so little form- 
ed as scarcely to be ascertained what it is. It is an embryo fish, attached by a 
tough sinuous substance* (rather difficult to cut in two) to the upper surface of 
something of the size and shape of a Sparrow's egg. Though in its earliest stage 
a person may conjecture what it is, yet, from its shapeless appearance, no one can 
speak with any certainty. It has a pale, watery appearance, and moves its tail with 
difficulty, as though it was a piece of sinew — a motion it possesses before it is 
spawned.f The pale colour becomes red, until it has the appearance of raw flesh, 
owing to the skin being transparent ; it afterwards has the outward resemblance 
of a full-grown Skate. 

The egg is covered with innumerable blood-vessels branching from one main 
trunk, which takes its rise from underneath the sinew by which the fish is attach- 
ed to it, and running in parallel directions down the sides, are ultimately united to 
another large blood-vessel which runs into the same place from which the former 
main, trunk sprung. From this I am inclined to suppose that the former is an 
artery conveying the nutritious blood through the egg; having performed that 



• This substance I had to cut with a penknife. 

•j- This statement appears correct ; for one of these fish (in its earliest stage), having 
died, was cut from the egg to examine the latter, and then put aside : it soon dried up and 
became perfectly flat. 



) 

179 

function, it is afterwards carried back by the latter to the place from which it 
sprung, where, after undergoing some process, it becomes nutritious, and again 
passes through the artery for the supply of the egg, &c. As the fish increases in 
size the egg decreases, the blood-vessels at length disappear, and the egg is ulti- 
mately reduced to the size of a pea, when it seems drawn up in the middle, and at 
length disappears, it being absorbed by that stomach which had been gradually 
forming from its humour. This stomach bears such a close resemblance to the 
colour of the egg, that, when half-formed, there at first sight appears to be two 
eggs. 

On this egg being pricked, a liquid flows out having the appearance of hu- 
mour ; on examining the outward covering after pressing out the liquor, the blood 
vessels appear to be inclosed in it. If the liquor is suffered to dry it will form a 
soft gluey substance, similar to that of the yolk of a Fowl's egg. 

It appears that the liquor from this egg supports and nourishes the fish in its 
embryo state, and afterwards performs one of the principal functions of its exist- 
ence ; probably the same function as the yolk of a Fowl's egg, i. e., to assisting 
the chicken forming in its shell, and ultimately form the entrails. 

One fish taken from the shell in an early stage of its existence lived but a 
few hours. Another, probably advanced three or four days, and a third, appa- 
rently about to break its shell in about as many days, lived and came to perfection 
a month or five weeks after, the eye, though closed, being capable of motion all 
the time.* 

It would, therefore, seem that life, or rather motion, commences at an early pe- 
riod of its embryo state ; and probably about the time, or a little before, the egg is 
absorbed, the fish is perfect in all its parts, and capable of seeking its own nourish- 
ment ; and when the egg is entirely absorbed hunger compels it to force its way 
out of the shell in search of food.f 

A. 

• The eye, when formed, appears inclined to open, but is prevented by long, narrow 
slips of skin-like eye-lashes, but united at their ends. 

•j- From the number of sea-shells left by the tides about this time, it appears the ova come 
to perfection about the time shell-fish cast their shells ; so that during this early stage of 
their existence providence directs they shall meet with food to support them in their state 
of weakness. 



2 a 2 



THE TURNIP FLY (Athalia spinarum). 

Some of your readers may not possibly be subscribers to Mr. Curtis's invalu- 
able British Entomology ; in which case they will not have seen the useful infor- 
mation his last number contains relative to the Turnip Fly, that pest of farmers. 
Respecting this insect there is so little known, even among those who are in other 
respects well-informed, that I strongly recommend an attentive perusal of Mr. 
Curtis's interesting description. It is not the fly itself that is the author of the 
damage, at least not in his winged state ; he is, " ut dicam" comparatively inno- 
cent : but it is his former self — if I may be excused the Hibernicism — to which he 
is now " unlike, Oh, how unlike !" that causes all the mischief. Having emerged 
from his " durance vile" he displays a fine yellow body ; but when he was a gro- 
velling worm of the earth he was clad in sable robes — in mourning, if you will 
forgive the flight, for the destruction and havoc he was spreading all around him. 
Then he was confined to the turnip fields ; and if the farmers had only possessed 
the information which Mr. Curtis has now given, they might have learned a sim- 
ple and most easy method of getting rid of their countless enemies. If a hurdle 
is drawn lightly over the field it will brush them off the leaves, and once on the 
ground they are in their graves ; they cannot make their way over the soil, or 
ever again ascend the stalk. But now that they are invested with wings they roam 
wherever their fancy leads them, having first probably deposited their eggs on the 
turnips, which is the only food on which their larvae can live, as they will not even 
touch the swedes. Whether the perfect insect affects any particular plant does not 
appear to be satisfactorily ascertained ; possibly not. Having been so long con- 
fined, in the larvae state, to one kind of food (from its incapacity to search for 
any other), it now probably seeks for a greater variety of delicacies than formerly 
fell to his lot to enjoy. The winged insect appears as early as March, and is visi- 
ble to the middle of October ; the larvae continue to the same time from about 
the middle of August. Ducks are particularly fond of the caterpillar, which is 
most plentiful the beginning of September, and if turned into the fields will eat 
them with avidity. The larvae abound much more in some localities than others, 
but are said to have been more abundant this summer than they have been for the 
last thirty years. In very many fields the leaves of the turnips have withered and 
turned yellow ; in some instances causing the entire destruction of the root, in 
others producing an unhealthy appearance. This occurred previous to the plants 
having attained their full growth, and they did not afterwards make much advance 
in size ; the blight was upon them, and they looked as if they had been scorched 
by the hot wind of the desert. Some farmers attributed this destruction to the 
black caterpillar of which I have been speaking, though I think they are mistaken, 
as they only eat the fresh leaves, and would find no sustenance in the withered 
ones ; but the secret, in my opinion, is, that the season which is favourable to the 



181 

appearance of the insect, and draws it forth from its long captivity, is uncongenial 
to the growth of the plant, which consequently fades or dies. Other agriculturists 
attribute the destruction to the larva of a plague of flies with which several parts 
of this county have lately been visited ; but this I consider an erroneous suppo- 
sition. 

Francis Orpen Morris. 



ON THE NESTS OF BIRDS. 

In the last number of The Naturalist an intelligent correspondent at Camp- 
sail Hall, gives an account of a most curious instance of eccentric nest-building, 
viz*, " a Wren's nest in that of the Chimney Swallow," and invites the readers of 
The Naturalist to bring forward any parallel instances. I regret that he omitted 
to state in what situation the nest of the Swallow was built, as these delightful 
summer visitors will sometimes indulge a freak and choose a place of all others, to 
our ideas, the most unlikely. The handles of a pair of garden shears, the Owl 
and Conch Shell in White's Selborne, are convincing proofs. I now comply 
with Mr. C. T. Wood's wishes, by stating the following facts. In the spring of 
1832, I was agreeably surprised to see a pair of Chimney Swallows busied in mak- 
ing their nest within a small shed in my garden, closed on three sides, but open to 
the east, at eight feet from the ground. In this nest they had two broods. In 
1833 the nest was usurped by a pair of Wrens, and the Swallows, on their arrival, 
finding it so, made another nest on the opposite side, in which four eggs were depo- 
sited ; I had then the satisfaction of shewing to my friends the nests of my pets, at 
twenty inches distance only from each other. A violent gale of wind in the night, 
during the Swallow's incubation, damaged the thatched roof of the shed, and in 
the morning I saw the nest hanging by a portion of the thatch, with the eggs re- 
maining in it. I had it replaced immediately as well as I could, but it would not 
do ; and from that time I lost the pleasing company of my Swallows. The other 
nest remains, and the Wrens have this year hatched their young in it, being the 
fourth of their occupation. I have hitherto taken out their old nest in autumn, to 
prevent the accumulation of insects, but have not done it at present, as I think of 
removing the shed. I shall be much gratified if my feathered favourites continue 
their domicile on my premises. 

J. Clayton. 
JFishbourne, near Chichester, 
Oct. 13th, 1836. 



ORNITHOLOGICAL NOTES. 

Having been much interested by a singular instance of parental affection and 
sagacity of a Chaffinch (Fringilla spiza), I have thought that the anecdote might 
not be unacceptable to the readers of The Naturalist, for wbom I accordingly 
transcribe it :— " This day week, I think it was, (says Mr. Maceroni, in a letter 
dated June 16,) it blew almost a gale of wind. A Chaffinch's nest, placed near 
the top of a high Common Escule, (Esculus vulgaris,)* in the front of the house, 
was damaged, and one of the young, nearly able to fly, fell to the ground, which I 
caught. It was old enough to eat of its own accord ; and I kept it perched on 
a hen coop until this morning, when it contrived to get into the roof of a barn, 
and whilst I was attempting to get it down, surrounded at the time by four 
or five children, who were, of course, making a great outcry lest the little orphan 
should be lost, the mother flew down from the other side of the house, and with- 
out the least hesitation, seized her little one by the leg and carried it off to the top 
of the high tree from which it had fallen a week before. I regard this as rather a 
curious circumstance ; the power of wing in the old bird being not the least re- 
markable of its interesting features." — The following somewhat similar instance 
of sagacity is related by Wilson of the Ruffed Grous ( Tetrao umbellus) : — 
" The young leave the nest as soon as hatched, and are directed by the cluck of the 
mother, very much in the manner of the Common Fowl ( Gallus variabilis). On 
being surprised she exhibits all the distress and affectionate manoeuvres of the 
Common Colin ( Colinia vulgaris, Nuttal ; Perdix virginiana of Latham), and 
of most [many] other birds, to lead you away from the spot. I once started 
a female Ruffed Grous with a single young one, seemingly only a few days old ; 
there might have been more, but I observed only this one. The mother fluttered 
before me for a moment ; but, suddenly darting towards the young one, seized it 
in her bill, and flew off along the surface through the woods with great steadiness 
and rapidity till she was beyond my sight, leaving me in great surprise at the inci- 
dent." If I mistake not, Audubon mentions a parallel case of an American species 
of Nightjar. Other birds, as the wild Ring Duck (Anas boschas, Lin.), the 
Tufted Woodard ( Dendronessa spansa, Sw.), and the Common Gallinule ( Gal- 
linula chloropus, Will.), must also occasionally carry their young in their bills, as 
they are all known to build more or less frequently many feet high in trees, &c. 
It is said that the Common Rusticol (Rusticolla vulgaris, Vieill.), has been seen 
to transfer its young by flight. 

Turning from young birds to nests, I shall here notice an assertion made by a 

" The trees in the Escule family (Esculacem) are vulgarly confounded under the name 
Horse Chesnut : they have, however, no affinity with the Chesnut (Castanea), which is in 
the Hazel family (Corylaceas), which, among other genera, contains the greatest glories of 
the British forest, the Oak and the Beech. 



183 

writer in the Analyst, concerning the nidification of the Rose Muflin (Afedula ro- 
sea J.* In an amusing article on this species, in No. IV., vol 1, p. 258, the writer 
refers to the assertion made by Selby and Mudie, that the nest is sometimes found 
with two openings, and proceeds to disprove this by reasoning. I am happy to be 
able to bring forward an instance proving the truth of the assertion, as stated by 
the former of the two eminent Ornithologists just mentioned : — " In one of your 
former letters (says Selby) you ask if I ever saw the nest of the Longtailed Tit 
furnished with two holes or entrances ; two such instances I have met with in my 
own plantations ; and in each, when the bird was sitting upon her eggs or callow 
young, the tip of the tail generally protruded beyond the upper or rather hinder 
orifice. One of these nests was kept for some time, but the access of moths 
obliged me to consign it to the flames." This interesting fact is an additional in- 
stance to the many already on record, of the danger of reasoning from mere nega- 
tive evidence or preconceived notions, instead of from actual observation ; the for- 
mer is a foundation of sand, the latter of rock. 

I shall conclude this miscellaneous communication by expressing my pleasure 
at seeing the zeal and success with which the principles of ornithological nomen- 
clature, as explained in Nos. XII. and XIV. of The Analyst, have been brought 
into practice in The Naturalist : and I hope that the barbarous and unscientific 
mode of naming birds adopted by Bewick, and other authors of the old school, with 
all errors of science, however high the authority to uphold them, will sooner or 
later be buried in oblivion. And, let me ask, is it not quite as easy and much more 
satisfactory to call the Accentor modularis, Hedge Dunnock than Hedge Sparrow, 
the Merula vulgaris, Garden Ouzel instead of Black Bird, and the Sylvia melo- 
dia Yollow Treeling instead of Yellow Wren ?-f- 

There never has been, and perhaps never will be, a new discovery, without 
exciting at the outset some degree of opposition, arising sometimes from igno- 
rance, prejudice, self-interest, and indifference. The present subject seems, how- 
ever, to have pretty nearly overcome all these obstacles ; and although (as Bell 
truly says in his beautiful work on British Quadrupeds, p. 146,) often much under- 
rated, terminology now receives its due share of attention. Agreeing, as I do, with 
a zoological writer of the present day in the opinion that " incalculable benefit 



* Longtailed Tit, and Parus cavdatus of old writers. 

•f I perceive, at page 34, that Mr. Blyth objects to the generic name, Treeling, which 
I have adopted for the genus Silvia, and proposes " Pettychaps," which Yorkshiremen, 
when they hear, generally turn into Prettychaps. This name is not euphoneous enough for 
so handsome and familiar a bird. If adopted at all, it should be Petty chap, (See Shaw's 
Gen. Zool.J, similar to Redwing, Longshank, Thicknee, which we do not call Redwings, 
Longshanks, Thicknees. According to Rennie, (see Quarterly Journal of Agriculture, No. 
33, p. 43), these birds are called, in Scotland, Bushet Leddy, on account of their elegant ap- 
pearance. 



184 

will accrue to the science of Natural History in general, from dispassionate discus- 
sions on the true principles of nomenclature," I hope that Mr. Blyth will soon re- 
deem his promise at p. 34, and " take the subject in hand" himself. 

The British Song Birds, lately published, is, I believe, the first English work 
in which the principles have been, not only acknowledged, but acted on. Most 
of the names are unexceptionable, though there are two or three oversights — as 
Phcenicura for Ruticilla, and Brakehopper for Locustel. The English names of 
the genera should, also, have preceded the Latin, instead of coming after : for, in 
an English book, the English names are the most important. 

C. T. Wood. 
Campsall Hall, near Doncaster. 

[Several of our Correspondents entertain views widely opposed to each other on the 
disputed point of a reform in the nomenclature of British Ornithology. We submit their 
communications on this subject to the readers of The Naturalist, in the hope that sugges- 
tions may be elicited in the discussion which will prove interesting to Ornithologists. — 
Eds.] 



ON THE RING PIGEON. 

I find Mr. Neville Wood rather sanguine in his hopes of domesticating the 
Ring Pigeon. I have known many attempts at it, which all failed. I never could 
learn that any one of the birds, though taken from the nest and reared up to an age 
when it might be expected, were ever heard to coo. It is a well-known fact that 
a bird of this species taken, with its fellow (which soon died), from the nest, was 
brought to a farm in the neighbourhood of Chichester, where every facility con- 
finement could afford was given it to mate with a common Pigeon, without suc- 
cess. At eight years of age, it being proved to have consumed as many peas 
as would have brought the sum of ten pounds in the market, an order for its 
decapitation was given forthwith. 

J. G. 



REVIEW. 

German Periodical. 

Wiegman, Archiv.fur Naturgeschichte. Zweiter Jahrgany, 1, 2, und 3er, Heft. 

We now proceed to redeem the promise given in our last number to extract 
what appears to be most interesting in the above work, and at the same time to 
give a general idea of its contents. 

The first paper of the first part is an elaborate monagraph by Opatowski, De 
Jamilia fungorum JBoletoideorum, three species of which he separates and forms 
by them two new genera, which are characterized. The remainder, containing the 
typical genus Boletus, he divides into sections and subsectionsaccording to the 
structure of their tube. The species are described very fully, and the synonyms 
carefully introduced. 

We have next Contributions to the History of the Hymenoptera, by Chr. 
Drewson and F. Boie. This paper will necessarily be appreciated by the Entomo- 
logist from the glimpses it gives into the history of a tribe of insects of which we 
as yet possess but a very imperfect knowledge. The time has at length arrived 
that due attention commences to be paid to the pupivorus Hymenoptera, which 
from the exceedingly important function they perform in the economy of nature, 
and the powerful influence they exercise over all the other orders of insects, cer- 
tainly have not merited the almost gross neglect they have experienced until within 
these few years. Gravenhorst's labours, in conjunction with those of his worthy 
associate, Nees von Esenbeck, have reduced to something like systematic order 
the chaos in which these insects had been left by all their predecessors ; but even 
their works require revisal. Here we have the more important portion of the his- 
tory of a few recorded, which exhibits them in the exercise of their prescribed 
functions, and this with the exception of some scattered observations in the works 
of Gravenhorst, Nees, and Curtis, in the papers of Haliday and Walker, and in 
the pamphlet of Bouche, is all we as yet know of their " private history." We 
present our compatriot entomologists with the substance of this paper in the hope 
that it may induce those who possess the opportunity, or who happen to catch such 
evanescent facts to record them ; and we invite them to do so, for our pages will 
be always open to their use. It is almost only hence that we can expect to attain 
a more natural arrangement of this extensive host than it has been possible hither- 
to to construct. 

The following facts we find here recorded : — 

Ichneumon sicarius, Grav. Both sexes from the pupae of Lithosia rubri- 
collis. 
vol. i. 2b 



186 

Ichneumon Jbssorius, Miiller. The female, on the 15th of September, from 

the pupa of Noctua Typhoe. 
oratorius. The male, in summer, from the pupa of Noctua f estiva. 

saturatorius. Female from the pupa of Noctua phragmitidis. 

They here remark the curious fact of the Ichneumon and the Moth being 

developed at the same time, but that the caterpillar of the latter is only to 
be seen nine months later ; they, therefore, suggest that the eggs of the Ichneu- 
mon are probably deposited near those of the Moth, and that the larvae of the 
former subsequently work their way into the body of the caterpillar, or that there is 
a second brood of the Ichneumon. The latter is certainly the most plausible sup- 
position, and it is not improbable that the Ichneumon is not confined to the cater- 
pillar of one moth, as we shall observe under Pimpla rufata, and that thus the 
exigency is met. 

Ichneumon lineator, Fab. Male, on the 4th of June, from the pupa of Geo 
metra elutata. 

monitorius, Panz. Male and female, from the middle of June to 

the end of July, from the pupa? of Noctua pronuba, and but one parasite 
to each. 

ambulator ius, Fab. On the 13th of July, from a pupa of Noctua 



polyodon. 

vadatorius. Female, on the 10th of June, from the pupa of Noc- 
tua pronuba. 

culpatorius. On the 20th of June, from the pupa of Noctua cu 



cubali, which had over-wintered ; in this the wings were tinged with a 

dark cloud : and on the 29th of August, from a pupa of the unknown 

caterpillar of a Noctua, which had changed on the 29th of the same 

month, in which the wings were silaceous. 
This difference of colour in the wings arose probably from the different quality 
of the food of the larva, a fact analagous to which we observe in many of the lepi- 
doptera, which feed on two different plants, and producing a similar effect in the 
colour of the imago. 

Mesoleptus limitarius, Grav. Upon Nematus ventricosa, of Klug, which 

feeds upon the currant. 
exornatus, Grav. Upon a new Nematus described in both sexes 

but without a name, which feeds upon Pinus abies. 
Tryphon exstirpatorius, Grav. Upon a Nematus (the Tenthredo Betulae 

of Fallen), which feeds upon a willow. 
Trogus alboguttatus, Grav. The male from the pupa of Noctua pudi- 

bunda, on the 15th of June, and the female on the 8th of July. 
Jlavatorius. The male and female, in June and July, from the pupa? 

of Sphinx Salicis. 



187 



Lissanota murina, Grav. The male, on the 23rd of April, from the pupa of 
Noctua gothica, and the female, on the 7th of May, from the same. 

Bassus ornatus, Grav. The male from caterpillars of Noctua Chenopodii 
found on Salsola kali on the sea shore, in September, the parasite mak- 
ing its way out before the caterpillar could fully change into the pupa. 
Each appeared to be destroyed by only one, and some of the ichneumons 
formed even an earthy envelope like that contracted by the moth. 

Pimpla rufata, Grav. In the autumn from pupae of Vanessa Urtic&, and in 
the summer from pupae of Sphinx Ligusiri which had over-wintered. 

Exetastes clavator, Fab., and E. osculatorius, Grav. From the very similar 
pupae formed by larvae which had fed upon caterpillars of Noctua olera- 
cea. 

Campoplex diffbrmis, Grav. Female, in June, from the pupa of Tortrix 
Ameriana. 

pugillator. On the 24th of May from the pupa of Geometra ob- 

scurata, and on the fifth of June from the pupa of Noctua marginata 
and that of Geometra brumata. 

These, they think, may also be specifically or sub-specifically different. 

Campoplex capricornis. Males and females in number from larvae which had 
preyed gregariously upon immature caterpillars of Noctua typhoe, which 
they deserted in June, enveloping and transferring themselves within the 
leaves of plants. 

Paniscus glaucopterus, Grav. Prom the pseudo caterpillar of Cimbex femo- 
rata. 

testaceus, Grav. From the pupa of Cerura vinula ; the females 

were found to be developed later than the males. 

Anomolon Jlaveolatum, Grav. From pupae of Noctua batis. 

Ophion obscurus. Female on the 24th of July, from the pupa of Noctua le- 

porina. 
luteus. Male and female on the 10th of June, and the female on the 



20th of August, from the pupae of Noctua Cucubali, Noctua Absynthii, 

and Noctua innartri. 

The authors suggest that these Ichneumons may be specifically different, 

although not apparently so, founding their supposition upon the development from 

different insects ; but we have already seen, under Pimpla rufata, that this is not 

universal. 

Chelonus irr orator. On the 10th of June, from the pupa of Noctua psi, 
which had over-wintered. This has been, but incorrectly, considered a 
British insect. 
The doubts of the authors as to the specific identity of apparently identical spe- 
cies developed from different insects, cannot be admitted. It is no more than 

2b 2 



188 



analogous to the fact of many of the Lepidoptera feeding upon different plants. 
We cannot, it is true, yet trace it to any known law ; but it is not enveloped in 
greater obscurity than the other well-known circumstance, also corroborated in 
some of the above observations, of several species, and even genera, of parasites 
feeding upon the same insect. The most extraordinary instance adduced above 
are those of Mesoleptus, Tvyphon, and Paniscus feeding upon Tenihredinidx. 
Could some parasite be found to infest Athalia spinarum, the agriculturist might 
then hope for a permanent check to one of his greatest enemies ; but we are sadly 
afraid that the mere acumen of Entomologists will never elaborate an effective 
remedy for the devastation amongst turnips until nature lends her help by the 
abundant propagation of a destructor of the destroyer in the shape of an insect 
parasite. 

The authors, also, partially characterize a new genus ( Gravenhorstia) for 
the reception of a new insect, allied to the Ophions, developed in May from the 
pupa of Bombyx Trifolii : as this moth is common with us, the Ichneumon may 
also be found, and we therefore give the characters. 

Gravenhorstia. — Boie. 

Head with four impressions on the face beneath the antenna?, placed in pairs, 
the two upper ones half-moon shaped, and between them a small tubercle. An- 
tenna of the length of the abdomen. Scutellum very convex, triangular or sub- 
quadrangular. Wings short. No cell. Posterior legs long; tarsi incrassate. 
Abdomen petiolated, as long again as the thorax, laterally compressed, enlarging 
towards the apex. Ovipositor scarcely exserted. 

G. picta, B. — Black. Pace and orbits of the eyes yellow ; tubercle of the 
face, black. Antennae reddish yellow, the two first and fourth joints black above. 
Thorax very convex, punctured, opaque, pubescent, with twelve yellow spots, of 
which two large triangular ones on the prothorax, one on each side, two smaller 
ones in stripes before and beneath the wings on each side, and the six others as 
large as the first beneath the coxae, which are very shiny. Scutellum also yellow. 
Wings yellowish with brown stigma. The anterior and intermediate legs of a 
brownish yellow ; and the posterior pair, with the femora and apex of the tibia?, 
brown. The Abdomen shining, with seven broad yellow bands placed on the mar- 
gins of the segments. Length from eight to ten lines ; females larger than the 
males. Habits resemble those of Ophion. 

The next article is a Systematic Investigation of the Family of the Bostri- 
chidaz, by Dr. Erichson, a name which ensures the value of the monograph from 
being so advantageously known as that of the author of the genera Dyticeorum, 
an inaugural Dissertation, and the Paper upon the Histeroides of the Berlin 



189 

Royal Collection published in Klug's Annals of Entomology. Our space does 
not permit us, at the present moment, to give an abstract of its contents ; but 
we propose returning to the subject in a future number. 

We have next " Extracts from the Observations of Swedish Naturalists," by 
C. It. A. Krassow, containing a multiplicity of short notices deeply interesting to 
the northern Europea nzoologist ; but the remaining paper is a monograph of the 
genus JRhinolophus, amongst the bats, by Temminck, whose investigations have led 
him to conclude that the two warts above the os pubis, which are not present in 
the female of one year old, barely incipient in the second year, and only fully 
developed in the third year, are not nipples, but appendages for the secretion of a 
fat offensive substance. He reduces Dr. Horsfield's seven Javanese species to 
three, and introduces, as new, three from Java, one from Africa, two from Am- 
boina, and one from Japan, thus encreasing the number of the species to seven- 
teen, exclusive of three very doubtful ones. 

The most interesting paper in the second number is from the novelty of its 
subject, that by Lichtenstein, containing his observations upon living Cephalopoda, 
made during a short visit to the coast of the north of France in September, 1835. 
Here, for his and his companion's entertainment, the fishing fete called the Pouglie- 
che, was celebrated, his friends remarking that Meckel (the comparative anato- 
mist), had upon his visit in the year 1824, considered the sight of such a vast 
multitude of living animals thus drawn in the fullest animation from the recesses 
of the deep and exposed to examination, as one of the greatest rewards of his whole 
excursion, and which Lichtenstein corroborates. It was in the vicinity of Mont- 
pellier, upon the coast between Cette and Agde, that the party under the guidance 
of Professor Duges and Dr. Fage, passed the night that they might witness at 
day break the interesting sight. Three large nets, each 120 toises long, had been 
cast the preceeding evening at a considerable distance from the coast, and were 
drawn in by a multitude of poor country people, chiefly consisting of old men, 
women and children, attracted by the hopes of participating in the capture. The 
tumult of the swimmers exhibited itself even at a distance upon the gradual con- 
traction of the bag of the nets, each of which brought from ten to twelve hundred 
weight of fishes, sepias, Crustacea, andalcyonia, to the shore. The fishes consisted 
chiefly of the usual species abundant at this period, of Spams, Clupea, Mullus, and 
Mugil ; amongst which there were occasional individuals of Squalus Ferox, Syng- 
nathus Hippocampus, and Raja Oxyrhynchus. But the Sepias from their size, 
multitude, and remarkable conduct attracted the chief attention. There were 
more than two hundred individuals of the genera Heledon, Sepia, and Loligo. 
Each species exhibited motions which were as remarkable in themselves from 
their novelty as in their difference from each other. The Heledones cast head- 
long out of the net, endeavoured to escape from the mass, and actively exerting 
themselves, crept towards the sea ; the majority of the Sepias had a half swal- 



190 

lowed fish sticking in their bill, and made a noise something like the sneezing of a 
man. The Loligos leaped up higher than any of the fishes, and with a tolerably 
well determined direction towards the water, so that several of them were lucky 
enough to escape. 

The Heledones always cast themselves with facility upon their ventral side ; 
they then spread out equally their eight arcns, four upon the right and four upon 
the left, thus distending their broad connecting membrane : the anterior ones 
stretched their points far forward, clinging even to the sand with certainty ; the 
points of the following pairs alternated, in regular succession, upwards and down- 
wards, the suckers fixing themselves on each descent, and drawing the body after 
them. The average speed in fresh specimens was about seven feet a minute ; the 
motion was constant, without interruption, like that of snails. When they ap- 
proached nearer to the water, and got upon the flattened and moist sand, there was 
a very perceptible increase of speed; and as soon as they came to the descent of 
the shore they raised their heads, the forehead arched itself between the glittering 
eyes, an active motion was observable in the previously tranquil sack -shaped body ; 
the incisions of the mantle, by a repeated rapid opening and shutting, drew air into 
the bag until the body resembled an expanded bladder, and, raising this suddenly, 
and casting it forward, the creature rolled the last three feet of its journey to 
the water with a speed which it was impossible to intercept, in case the flowing of 
the waves accidentally came to its assistance. 

The motions of the Sepias were totally different. We have already noticed 
their sneezing noise ; this ceased when they were left dry, but was resumed upon 
the influx of water. Their arms, which, with the exception of their two raptorial 
arms, are but short, were incapable of removing them from the spot, and even the 
head maintained its fixed position towards the bag. Upon their increasing exhaus- 
tion, they ejected a quantity of a thick, scentless, inky liquid, after which they died. 
This, between the fingers, felt more fat than clammy, but perfectly dissolved, both 
in salt and fresh water, without presenting an appearance of fat upon the surface. 
Soap would not remove the stains upon linen, when once dried. The juice of the 
Heledones was quite as black but not so thick, and much less in proportion ; be- 
sides which, it differed by having a decidedly musky smell. Unfortunately, during 
his inspection of the preceding, the Loligos had all died ; they were from about 
eight to ten inches long, and varying from three to four pounds in weight. They 
did not, like the Sepias, eject their fluid upon dying, but upon dissection cellular 
bags were found filled with it near the liver ; it was much less in quantity, less 
deeply coloured, but of a similar consistency to that in the Sepias. 

There are some interesting observations, by the same author, upon Syngnathus 
hippocampus, which, with other notices, we must reserve for our next number, as 
our space, at present, is exhausted. 



EXTRACTS FROM FOREIGN SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS. 

1. — Mr. M. A. Lefebvre, in a memoir contributed to the Entomological 
Society of France, mentions having observed, while travelling in various parts of 
Egypt, particularly in an excursion to the Oasis of Bahrych, an orthopterous in- 
sect, which lives in the sands perfectly destitute of vegetation. He examined se- 
veral species, each differently coloured according to the nature of the soil, which 
they so exactly resembled that it was difficult to perceive them. What, therefore, 
is the nourishment of animals like these, organized to exist upon living prey? 
They are found in localities in which no herbivorous insect could exist, and Mr. 
Lefebvre has never discovered the slightest vestige of vegetable or animal matter 
with them. On the other hand, their elytrae and wings, being ill adapted to flight, 
prevent the idea of their migrating like Crickets. Are they, then, reduced to 
subsist upon the prey conveyed to them occasionally by the winds? or do they 
live by devouring each other ? These are the questions which he has not been 
able to resolve, notwithstanding his most patient and minute observations of this 
singular insect. He has named it Eremiaphiles, from its peculiar habitat : some 
species have already been figured in the great work on Egypt, but without descrip- 
tions. Lefebvre has added several others, one particularly remarkable in the arti- 
culations of the tarsi, which are four in number on the anterior feet, and three on 
the two other pairs. This fact is extremely important, and offers a new objection 
to the classification of entomology by the tarsi, which has also been shaken by 
several analagous facts, and must ultimately be abandoned, notwithstanding its 
convenience. The above observations have induced Lefebvre to constitute of this 
species a new genus, which other general characters tend to induce. We regret 
extremely that we are not, at this moment, able to give a more detailed description 
of this extraordinary paradox in entomology. 

2. — On the Appearance or Disappearance of Plants in certain 
Localities. — Mr. Weinmann, inspector of the Imperial Gardens of Pawlowsk, in 
Russia, enumerates several striking instances of the above singular circumstance, 
which hitherto appears quite inexplicable, or not observed by Botanists in general. 
He states, among other occurrences of a similar nature, that during an uncommon 
season of drought, a lake in the environs of Pawlowsk became dried up, and its 
basin was shortly clothed with vegetation, but instead of the Juncus effusus, J. 
lampoocarpus, J. tusonius and others of that family, which previously grew abund- 
antly on its banks and sides, the dessicated bottom of the lake produced nothing 
but the Scirpus acieularis, a plant unknown altogether in that locality. When 
the severe frost destroyed vegetation the Scirpus acieularis totally disappeared, 
and has not again vegetated on this spot. 

Some other plants which were common in the environs of this city eight years 



192 

since, such as the Turritis glabra, the Chenopodium hybridum, and the Triti- 
cum pennatum, no longer are to be found there. The Carex microstachyra was 
abundantly found eighteen years since in the environs of Pawlowsk, but has now 
totally disappeared. 

Mr. Weinmann enumerates the following plants as no longer existing : — Lyno- 
surus cristatus, Illatine hydrapepa, Barbula rigida, Fontinelis foliata, Anthoce- 
ros punctatus, and Draba lutece. It would be highly interesting, if analagous 
facts are known in this country, that some of our able contributors would favour 
us with their observations on this extraordinary phenomenon. 

3. — Mr. Corda, of Prague, has made some discoveries of animalculae living in 
innumerable societies, near the hot springs of Carlsbad, in Germany : they are all 
of singular and novel forms. The presence of these myriads has often inspired a 
repugnance to invalids drinking the waters : he recognised forty-two new species. 
Mr. Ehrenburg has pursued similar researches, and added eight other well charac- 
terisedspecies, mostly unknown ; he calls them — Navicula striatula (of Purpin), 
N. umbonata, N. hippocampus and striata (these two are also found in the Baltic 
Sea), Trustulea appendiculata (Agarh), Navicula quadricostata, N. arcus, 
Monas violacea. These four last species inhabited the Carlsbad water, and are 
found no where else. 

4. — Mr. P. E. Botta, the travelling Naturalist of the Paris Museum, writes 
from Tor that he will shortly forward to France the collection he has already form- 
ed : he is about to explore a portion of Egypt and Arabia, and is now directing his 
steps towards Djidda and Mocalla, where he will embark for the Yemen. The 
information he had acquired respecting these countries, so rich in objects of Natu- 
ral History, induce us to hope that he will be able to proceed so far into the inte- 
rior as to collect a rich harvest of specimens hitherto but very imperfectly known, 
from the appalling difficulties which attend European travellers in those expedi- 
tions. The experience, knowledge, and zeal of this young Naturalist, who has 
already traversed many points of Africa, and completed a voyage round the world, 
render it likely that science will be immensely enriched by his present researches. 



ALCEDO ISPIDA. 





FAMILY. SYNDACTYLI. GENUS. ALCEDO. 



THE KINGFISHER. 



By Robert Mudie. 

Generic Characters. — Bill long, straight, angular in the section, thick at 
the base, rarely depressed, trenchant in the tomia, and pointed at the tip. . Nos- 
trils basal, lateral, pierced obliquely, and nearly closed by a naked membrane. 
Feet short, placed far backward, tarsi rather stout and rounded, a portion of the 
tibiae bare of feathers. Four toes, the hind one enlarged at its base, the external 
and middle front ones of equal length, and united as far as the second joint, the 
inner shorter, and united to the first joint. Tail very short and rounded. Wings 
of mean length, rather broad, hollow, and rounded, the third quill being the 
longest. 

The species of Alcedo are rather numerous, and there are some differences in 
the form of the bill and the structure of the feet. Some have an enlargement on 
the middle part of the lower mandible ; others have the bill a little curved, and are 
less aquatic in their habits than the others. These last have the toes united to 
the third and second joints, and the inner one little more than rudimental. The 
greater number of the genus are found only in tropical and other warm countries, 
but there is one which inhabits Europe as well as Asia and Africa. That one is 

The Common Kingfisher (Alcedo ispidaj, of which we have annexed a 
figure, drawn and coloured after nature, in that attitude which the bird assumes 
when it has captured a small fish, which it can swallow entire without quitting the 
wing. This figure will give a notion of the shape and colours of the bird, and 
thus spare us the tediousness of verbal description ; and both the form and the 
colours are so unique that, once known, the Kingfisher is never forgotten. 

The Kingfisher is a resident British bird, and pretty widely dispersed over 
those parts which are suited to its habits ; but it is no where very abundant, and 
it is rarely seen in proportion to its actual numbers. Its haunts are the rich and 
shaded banks of streams and rivulets, being seldom seen where the ground is open 
and bare, and never running on the sand-banks or beaches. The foot is not adapted 
for walking on the ground, both on account of the backward articulation and of 
the peculiar structure of the toes. This is the case with all syndactylic feet : they 
amount, in fact, to little more than, a foot of two toes, one to the front and the 
vol. i. 2c 



194 



other to the rear ; and these toes are articulated to the tarsus on the same plane, 
while the union at the base of the front ones, and the enlargement at that of the 
hind, form a base of considerable extent. The foot is thus a resting foot — a pas- 
sive foot, as it were — and not an active one. The backward articulation accords 
well with this use of the foot ; for when the bird rests on its feet, the axis of the 
body is much elevated forwards, and the weight, by that means, is concentrated 
upon the feet, which gives greater stability with the same extent of base than if 
the axis of the body were horizontal. The shortness of the tarsus further contri- 
butes to the same purpose, and the strength of that part of the leg is calculated 
for enabling the bird to bear its standing position for a long time. The syndac- 
tyly foot, ill-formed as it appears to be for active purposes, is the very model of a 
foot in its way ; and whether we examine its own structure, or the manner in which 
its position concentrates the weight of the bird, we cannot help noticing that, 
among all the variously formed feet of the feathered race, this is the one best cal- 
culated for enabling the owner to erect the wing and yet keep vigilant watch for 
its prey. Of all syndactylic birds, the Kingfishers are the most aquatic in their 
feeding, and the shortest and roundest winged ; and, therefore, we might be pre- 
pared to find this foot in the greatest perfection in them. 

And the habit is beautifully true to the structure. For in those warm and 
stilly days when not a breath of wind rustles the foliage or breaks the glassy sur- 
face of the brook, the Kingfisher may be observed sitting, for hours together, 
upon some withered branch or water-encircled stone, until a fish comes within 
the range of its vision. Then off it darts, with the rapidity of an arrow and the 
radiance of a meteor, and seldom misses its aim. If the fish is small it is swal- 
lowed during the flight, but if it is too large for that purpose, (and the bird in con- 
sequence of the breadth and hollowness of its wings can rise, even from amidst the 
water, with a larger fish than one would be apt to suppose), then the bird betakes 
itself to some rock, stone, or firm portion of the bank, where it speedily kills 
the fish by hewing into the skull with its strong and powerful bill. After this, 
the trenchant edges of the same instrument may soon divide the fish into such 
portions as can be swallowed, and the feast is then over. As is the case with 
almost, if not quite, all birds that can bear abstinence for a long time, the King- 
fisher is very voracious when food can be obtained ; and it seems to be a pretty 
general law that birds which feed on fish eat more than those which feed on most 
other animal substances. 

Though the Kingfisher often plunges fairly into the water after its prey, its 
plumage is not wetted or ruffled. Beautiful as its colours are, its plumage partakes 
much of the nature of that of the aquatic birds properly so called, which launch 
themselves upon the water, or dive and duck through its substance. We have 
already said that it brings the connection of the syndactylic birds down to the 
water, were the chain appears to be taken up by the Terns among web-footed 



195 

birds ; and as it holds nearly the same place among those birds which feed over 
fresh waters upon the wing, as the Auks and Puffins do among those that swim 
and dive, so there is no small resemblance in some parts of the economy. It 
builds in holes of the banks, which holes it excavates for itself. The foot is, in- 
deed, a very efficient digging foot, much better than if the tarsus were larger, and 
the toes more produced and free. The eggs are, however, more numerous than 
those of the sea-birds, which the Kingfisher resembles in its breeding places and 
some other of its habits. They vary from four to eight, usually of a pure white 
colour ; and as the birds do not walk on the sludgy surfaces the eggs are not 
soiled by their feet, as is the case with those of many lake and river birds. It is 
said that the Kingfishers are very prone to take possession of the holes of the small 
aquatic mammalia and trim them for nesting places ; and some allege that these 
avenge the ejectment by eating the eggs of the birds. This last is not, however, 
very practicable, as the eggs are seldom, if ever, without one of the birds upon 
them ; and if the birds are able to take possession, they are, of course, able to keep 
it. It is true that the number of birds that are seen bears but a small proportion 
to that of the eggs ; and we know that, in most cases, the numbers of the eggs 
of birds bear a proportion to the enemies or other casualties to which they are 
subject. But we have no certain knowledge of the enemies of the Kingfishers, 
or of the casualties that may destroy them, either in the young or the adult state. 
It has been said that the eggs are frequently addled or the unfledged young 
drowned, by the floods of the streams in the banks of which the nests are placed ; 
but the time when these birds breed is that at which floods are the least frequent. 
The probability is that the cold of winter, and the impossibility of finding food when 
the streams are sealed up by the frosts of that season, are the real causes of the 
comparatively limited numbers of these birds in the colder latitudes. This is, in 
so far, rendered probable by the fact that, even in those places where they are 
most likely to be found, Kingfishers are less frequently seen in the summer than 
in the winter. In summer they ascend the streams, near their sources, especially 
if these are in rich and wooded plains, because at this period and in such situa- 
tions the smaller fishes are usually numerous ; but toward the close of the season 
the small fishes descend, and when winter fairly sets in, the birds are driven to the 
broad waters, where they are not only obliged to be more on the wing for their 
food, but are also more easily seen, from the leaves having fallen. 

It is probable also that, notwithstanding the compactness of their plumage, 
the Kingfishers are more susceptible to the weather than almost any other of our 
resident birds. The fact of the single species in Europe, and the great number of 
species (as many as between sixty and seventy, leaving out the less aquatic ones, 
which make eight to ten more) that are found in tropical countries, would go far to 
establish this supposition. But there is a physiological argument which is at once 
more conclusive and more important. In all cases in nature there is an adaptation 

2c 2 



196 

of the preyer to the prey, which brings them to inhabit the same places, and to be 
abroad at the same times. Now fresh-water fishes, especially those that frequent 
the smaller streams, which are liable to be acted on by the weather to their whole 
depth, are known to be so exceedingly sensitive that the presence or absence of 
the sun, or the shifting of the wind from one point to another, will send them all 
quiescent to the bottom of the stream or bring them in activity near to the sur- 
face, according as the change is the one way or the other. 

Now, in order to adapt them for the capture of prey so sensitive, it is neces- 
sary that the birds themselves should be acutely sensitive to the same changes ; 
and thus they who have had the best opportunities for observing state, that, when 
the weather renders the fishes quiescent, the Kingfisher takes its station upon a 
stump or a stone, where it " bides its time" in the patient manner that has been 
described. But, on the other hand, when the state of the weather puts the fishes 
on the alert, and makes the smaller ones sport near the surface of the water, the 
Kingfishers betake themselves to the air, and dart abroad over the surface with 
extraordinary rapidity, considering the shortness of their wings. 

At those times, however, they are solitary in their feeding, and so many 
as two are never seen in close company or very near to each other. Even the 
males and females have no sort of intercourse or recognition of each other, except 
in the pairing season, and then they are cryptogamous as well as monogamous, 
and do not appear at the same time. Their feeding grounds are also often at a 
considerable distance from their nesting places ; and they are generally in more 
retired situations, because when they meet, the nuptial cave affords concealment. 
There is no formal building in the nest, but it often contains a considerable quan- 
tity of fish bones, which, in all probability, the birds discharge in castings. At 
this time both birds repose in the nest-hole during the night, but as they arrive 
and depart with great celerity, they are seldom seen, and the nest is not often 
found. The rearing of the brood is long and laborious, as the young do not quit 
the nest until they are so far fledged as to be able to make their way, and find their 
own food, over the waters. When they arrive at this state the whole family sepa- 
rate, never, in all probability, to meet again. In fact, notwithstanding the exquisite 
colours and brilliant gloss of their plumage, Kingfishers are solitary, and, in a sen- 
timental point of view, dismal birds ; their cry is harsh and unmusical, and their 
nesting places are offensively filthy. Brilliant plumage does not appear, indeed, to be 
an indication of any quality of birds which renders them valuable or even interest- 
ing to man, but it is probable that it, in some way, renders them more susceptible 
to atmospheric and solar action. We may have another opportunity of adverting 
to this curious point. 






ON THE NATURE AND USES OF THE PRIMAEVAL VEGETATION 

OF THE EARTH. 

By Robert Dickson, M.D., F.L.S. 

In a former article (p. 146) we made some remarks on the geometrical prin- 
ciples which had been observed in the construction of the members of the leading 
divisions of the vegetable kingdom, and on the inferences which might be thence 
drawn respecting the Deity and his works. If we turn our attention to the princi- 
ple which regulates the distribution of plants over the surface of the globe, and 
assigns to each country its precise and peculiar kind of vegetation, we shall not 
find it less worthy of our consideration, or less fraught with lessons of wisdom and 
proofs of benevolence. The prevailing or predominating species of plants which 
form the vegetable covering of the earth, give to each country its characteristic 
aspect, determine the nature of the wild animals and insects which frequent it 
or live there, and, as Humboldt justly remarks, " produce the most important ef- 
fects upon the social state of the people, the nature of their manners, and the de- 
gree of developement of the arts of industry." 

Let any one be conveyed from Britain to some island in a tropical latitude, 
and at the first glance he will perceive that he is surrounded by vegetable forms 
very different in appearance and structure from those of his native land. Instead 
of the Oaks, the Ashes, the Elms, and the Sycamores, with their enormous stems 
and wide-spreading branches, sometimes covering nearly a quarter of an acre, he 
will strain his eyes in looking upwards at the leaf-crowned summit of some slender 
branchless stem that seems to pierce the sky. Perchance he may recognize forms 
akin to the Ferns of his own country, but surpassing them in size and variety as 
much as the lakes of America and the mountains of India surpass in vastness and 
height those of Europe. 

Again, let him be conveyed to the polar regions : there he will find a few trees 
— such as Firs and Birches of a dwarfish size — braving the rigors of these climes, 
but an utter absence of those shrubs and flowers of larger growth, which make 
our woods and lawns so gay and fragrant ; the flowers to be there met with being 
such as are never seen in Britain, save on the summits of our loftiest mountains. 

K the individual be possessed of an inquiring and reflecting spirit, he will soon 
discover that the most general and influential of the causes which occasion these 
different and opposite phenomena, is temperature ; and might be led to imagine 
that if some convulsion of nature were to effect a change in the temperature of 
Britain, he might see its surface clothed with the vegetation of the tropics, if that 
change consisted in an elevation of temperature ; or, if the reverse, he might see 
the alpine vegetation descend from the mountains and inhabit the plains, or mi- 



198 

grate from the north, and displace the tender occupants of the soil, as the hardy 
hordes of Scandinavia displaced the effeminate rulers of Italy and Gaul. 

Now, this is no groundless speculation, or imaginary occurrence : for once a 
vegetation similar to that of the tropics flourished where Britain now stands ; 
though the forests of which it consisted were never seen by human eye, and the 
convulsions by which it was destroyed involved not, in their tremendous desolation, 
one being of that race which now inhabits it, and to render it fit for which, many a 
mighty commotion took place, and many an instance of creative power testified the 
provident and benevolent intentions of their Almighty Author. It was by means 
of these forests that the atmosphere was rendered suitable for the respiration of the 
higher animals, such as quadrupeds and man, — and by their submersion those re- 
servoirs of carbonaceous matter — coals — were secreted for the use of future ages. 

The primary, the universal function of vegetables appears to be the elimina- 
tion or formation of carbon, whatever secondary or temporary uses they may an- 
swer ; and the primaeval vegetation of the world flourished under circumstances 
highly favourable to their fulfilling this end. Indeed, so far as we can ascertain, 
there was no other object in view in their early formation ; and hence they attain- 
ed a size even unknown in the tropics in the present day. How perfectly they 
accomplished this object, the remains of them, existing under the surface of the 
earth at various depths, and in various states and degrees of preservation, suffi- 
ciently attest. A careful examination of the external form and internal structure 
of those which have retained their original constitution, or even of those which 
have undergone an alteration, and had the whole of their natural elements remov- 
ed and siliceous particles substituted in their place, enables us to conjecture with 
tolerable accuracy the particular tribes of plants which grew in those remote ante- 
diluvian ages. (See Lindley and Hutton's Fossil Flora of Great Britain, the 
work of Mr. Witham, papers by Mr. Nicol in Jameson's Journal, and Brongni- 
art's Histoire des Vegetaux Fossiles.J The greater number of those which are 
discovered in the most ancient coal formations belong to the vascular cryptoga- 
mia, comprising the Ferns, Horse-tails, &c, but of a size far surpassing any now 
growing ; and among the more recent coal measures are found Ferns, Palms, Cac- 
tuses, Cycases, and Pines or Firs. The land on which these grew, by alterations 
in the level of the surfaces, — whether by upheaving of volcanic masses, forming 
islands or continents, and causing displacement of the waters of the ocean, or by a 
sinking of their place of growth, from earthquakes or other convulsions, — became 
submerged, and the pressure of the sandy deposits above them, aided by the super- 
incumbent water, and the slow action of time, converted the vegetable structures 
into those great elements of utility — coals, which are so extensively wrought in 
this country, to which they are justly considered of more value than all its gold 
mines to Peru. 

Had they, when submerged, remained for ever in that situation, they would 



199 

have been alike unknown and unserviceable to man, but subsequent commotions 
brought them again near the surface, which, after acquiring a fresh vegetable coat- 
ing, suffered another depression and subjection to the compressing powers, to be at 
last consigned to their present position, the most favourable for their beneficial em- 
ployment that could well be conceived. 

What infinite occasion have we to admire the beneficence of the all-directing 
Providence, evidence of whose guiding of the storm is not wanting amid even the 
most terrible convulsions of nature ; for, when the framework of this globe appears 
ready to loosen and. dissolve itself, and all the elements seem to blend themselves 
in disordered and confused mixture, yet order and design become manifest in the 
result. But for this regulating, this controuling power, by what computation of 
chances, equal indeed to infinity to one, could we have had our coal-strata and iron- 
ore occurring in the same district, in so many instances, as we find them in 
Britain ? If the comforts and interests of the present inhabitants of the earth 
were thus prospectively provided for, so long anterior to the occurrence of their 
wants, is it probable that the interests or comforts of future ages will be neglected 
by the omniscient, the omnipotent, and the eternal Creator ? These observations 
are here introduced because some, forgetting the attributes of Him, to whom they 
owe every sense, every faculty, and every gratification of these which they enjoy, 
have indulged in fears or doubts for the welfare of the future occupants of the 
globe, and supposed if the present coal-measures were exhausted, none would be 
accessible to them. Now, without speculating on the unascertainable point, whe- 
ther or not the future inhabitants of the globe shall require coals, we may, by ob- 
serving what is taking place in both the old and new worlds, perceive provision 
making for a store of this material. When we consider the almost boundless for- 
ests of America, India, and other tropical countries, occupying stations rarely trod 
by the foot of man, we might be tempted to think they were of no use, but were 
mere cumberers of the ground. Yet, independent of the great influence which 
they exert over the humidity, the temperature and climate of the regions where 
they flourish, being the grand sources of the mighty rivers, which debouche at an 
astonishing distance from their origin, much of the wood which grows along the 
banks of these gigantic streams, is annually borne down towards their mouths, and 
either arrested there, forming temporary islands, or carried forward, and ultimately 
precipitated to the bottom of the ocean. This process goes on to an extent of 
which few have any adequate idea ; and what is every year so transported by the 
currents of the Mississipi, the Ganges, and the McKenzie rivers, surpasses the belief 
of most Europeans. At the outlet of these rivers immense rafts are seen waiting 
the moment when they shall be hurried onward to the deep, or sunk at once where 
they now float. At one of the outlets of the Mississipi a raft of this sort was ob- 
served ten miles in length, two hundred and twenty yards wide, and eight feet 
deep. The successive layers of these spread over the lower surface of the ocean 



200 

must form beds of great depth ; and to the quantity of woody matter derived from 
this source, we must add the vast flora of the ocean itself, which extends to its re- 
motest bounds, though varying in size and abundance, being most profuse and 
gigantic in tropical latitudes. Nowhere is it wanting, even on the shores 
of the polar ocean sea-weeds grow ; along our own coast they are varied in 
form and considerable in size ; yet falling far short of the huge productions of the 
equatorial seas. Many of those on the coast of Britain are thirty feet long, yet 
those of the Pacific attain a length of from 500 to 1500 feet : and, moreover, they 
grow with an astonishing rapidity in all, but especially in tropical latitudes. Their 
numbers are also great ; so that even on the shores of the Orkney islands, they 
obstruct the passage of boats ; and in the Gulf-stream they are so abundant as to 
prove a serious impediment to the sailing of ships ; and we read that they opposed 
such a barrier to the progress of the vessels of Columbus as to cause the ignorant 
and superstitious sailors to regard them as an obstacle interposed by heaven to 
the prosecution of what they considered an impious voyage. The periodical detach- 
ment of these from their place of growth, or decay of them on the spot of their 
birth, must furnish annually an incalculable quantity of vegetable detritus, which, 
added to the former, must furnish a provision of coal of a very ample kind. It 
may be objected that we have no sufficient reason to infer that all this woody and 
vegetable structure will ever be changed into coal : but the observations and expe- 
riments of modern botanists, geologists, and chemists are quite sufficient to war- 
rant this conclusion. The woody texture of even the most compact mass of coal 
from the oldest coal-measures can be demonstrated ; the distinct forms often found 
in the coal seams, point out the particular tribe or genus of plant, which have been 
so submerged and compressed ; the more recent coal formations retain so much of 
the woody structure as to be termed wood-coal, or lignite ; and the transformation 
of trees, even of whole forests into peat or bog, which we see take place so exten- 
sively, indicates the first step in the process ; for pressure, heat, and time, with an 
admixture of bitumen, are all that are required to change peat into coal ; as the 
observations and experiments of Dr. McCulloch amply prove (Geology, vol. 2, 
p. 319). The requisite heat and pressure being provided by the vast body of the 
ocean, time is effecting the necessary changes on the wood thus preserved at the 
bottom of the sea, now, as afore-time ; and it only waits the action of the volcanic 
forces to upheave it, and bring it near the surface, where it will be accessible and 
useful. These forces are held in check now, till a necessity shall arise for them 
to spring into action, the result of which will not be less favourable to the interests 
of the distant and unborn inhabitants of the earth, than those of old were to ours. 

Such speculations are any thing but idle, hurtful, or tending to narrow our 
views of God and his providence. For what more convincing proof could we have 
of the economy of nature, than in thus gathering up the fragments of her works, 
that nothing may be lost, and storing them away for the use of millions, yet un- 



201 

born, who will be enriched and benefited by these " treasures of the deep ?" And 
how must it increase our conceptions of the greatness and goodness of that Being, 
who has created us with faculties, which not only allow us to judge of what occurs 
in our own time, and under our own immediate observation, but enable us to dart 
a penetrating glance " through the dark depths of time " past, and thence draw 
comforting and satisfactory inferences for the events of futurity ? 

Some have thought that it was the necessary consequence of these investiga- 
tions to give a sceptical tendency to the mind ; but such a consequence is neither 
natural nor necessary. Have we not the example of some of the greatest men the 
world has ever seen, and who have given their attention to the most elevated spe- 
culations which could engage the powers of the human mind, testifying to the con- 
trary ? Did not Keppler and Newton, when they ceased from their lofty studies, 
which made us acquainted with the beautiful laws of number and harmony, which 
retain in their places the immense orbs that circle through space ; did not they, 
when they returned, as it were, from " walking on the battlements of heaven, and 
beholding the glories that were around them," record in language the most devout, 
their homage and profound sense of the perfections, the wisdom, the benevolence, 
and power of that Being, whose almighty fiat first called into existence those stupen- 
dous masses, and whose nice adjustments of them alone prevents them rushing into 
collision, which would be attended with such a shock, and disturbance to the whole 
system, that, compared with it, the most tremendous earthquake which has ever 
happened to our planet, would be but as the trembling of the most delicate balance 
before its final quiescence. The works of Newton are well known in this coun- 
try, those of Keppler less so than they deserve ; he who stated his conviction of 
the triumph of the truth in these words, " The day will soon break when pious 
simplicity will be ashamed of its blind superstition, — when men will recognise truth 
in the book of nature, as well as in the Holy Scriptures, and rejoice in the two 
revelations ;" also concluded his labours with the following modest apostrophe : 
" I give thee thanks, Lord and Creator, that thou hast given me joy through thy 
creation, for I have been ravished with the works of thy hands. I have revealed 
unto mankind the glory of thy works as far as my limited spirit could conceive thy 
infinitude. Should I have brought forward anything that is unworthy of Thee, 
or have sought my own fame, be graciously pleased to forgive it me." 

We hope, then, it will be believed, in anything we may say on geology, or 
other branches of science, in connection with natural theology, that it is far, very 
far from our intention to weaken the reliance of our readers on the doctrines of 
revealed religion, or to raise doubts we could not satisfy — doubts which, if carried 
into action, could only be productive of misery and misfortune. 



vol. i. 2d 



REMINISCENCES OF THE RHINE; 

ORNITHOLOGICAL AND ENTOMOLOGICAL. 
[Continued from page 168.] 

Respecting insects, I must repeat my inability to give any thing like a de- 
tailed account, proportionate to the number coming under my casual or permanent 
observation. My nippers, as I have already said, were disposed of to a friend on 
leaving England, and the absence of good collections in my own neighbourhood, 
or books with plates of insects not indigenous in this country, precluded my noting 
down with accuracy, the names of many which I either saw or captured. With 
this explanation, by way of preface, proceed we to enumerate some few of those 
which can be ascertained, not of every day occurrence in Great Britain. 

Swallow-tailed Butterfly (Papilio machaonj. Though rare in England, 
being chiefly confined to the fen counties of the eastern coast, it is by no means 
so on the Continent, and I was rather surprized to meet with but one specimen, 
namely at St. Goar on the Rhine. Borne on a smart breeze, the beautiful insect 
had crossed the river and passed me with the rapidity of lightning ; but, pursuing 
its course by the eye, I observed an extensive patch of dark mud, bloating under 
the rays of a hot sun, which I rightly conceived might prove too strong a tempta- 
tion for the airy traveller, whose habits are little in accordance with its cleanly 
and courtly drapery, preferring to revel on the decomposing putrefaction of a 
moist dunghill, to sucking the nectar of roses, of which it seems so much better 
qualified by its dress and elegance of demeanour to partake. Though rapid on 
the wing, when once settled, and in the full enjoyment of its beverage of filth, it 
may be approached without much difficulty. I was right in my conclusion ; on 
the mass of black mud it had tarried, to sip the essence of a large drain which 
emptied itself on the shore ; it became my prisoner, and is now in my cabinet. 

Black-veined White Butterfly (Pieris cratcegij. Donovan calls this one of 
the rarest species of the white tribe of butterflies found in Britain, but like many 
other insects, I believe its scarcity to be periodical, plentiful in one season, and 
then totally disappearing, for possibly several years to come. Though plain, and 
with few attractions to the ignorant observer, its transparent wings, and peculiar 
fashion of flight, are sure to draw the attention of a Naturalist to an insect, which 
assumes so foreign an address. My specimen was taken at Baden. 

Pale-clouded Yellow Butterfly ( Colias hyalej. This is another pretty in- 
sect, rarely found with us, but common enough in various parts of the Continent. 
I have found it in nearly all localities ; very abundant in the warm emerald meadows 
in the vallies of the Pyrenees, and by no means rare in those at Baden, where its 
gaudy golden plumage is sure to attract notice. 



203 

Marble Butterfly ( Hipparchia galathea). The character which this insect 
bears for partial localities in this country, is equally true of it on the Continent. 
For miles and miles I have traversed districts without seeing a specimen, and then 
fallen in with spots absolutely swarming with them. It would seem from this, that 
the Marble Butterfly is less inclined to wander beyond the limits of its birth-place 
than many others of its family ; it might be wished that the migrations of the 
lepidopterous tribes, and indeed of several others, were a little more attended to 
by Naturalists. For that many wander, and some do actually migrate, or expatri- 
ate themselves, is a matter beyond all doubt. I have myself seen instances of al- 
most all our common butterflies, far away on the wide sea, out of sight of land 
in calm or moderate weather, when there was no reason to suppose that their ma- 
rine perigrinations were occasioned by off-shore storms. It is diflicult to point out 
the various domiciles of this insect on the banks of the Rhine ; but he who explores 
the many delightful vallies and meadows in the environs of Baden, will assuredly 
bear testimony to the number, and partiality for particular spots, alluded to in the 
above remarks. 

The Purple Emperor (Apatiura iris). Oh ! for my absent nippers, was tee 
involuntary exclamation, as, in a hot sunny glade, in one of those romantic path- 
ways cut in the hill sides, looking downwards on the busy bustling crowd of idlers 
grouped near the Courshaus at Ems, one of these purple paragons of beauty, after 
gliding with motionless wings, as if supported on a sun-beam, settled on the ground 
a few paces before me. To gaze in silence in the presence of the royal insect was 
all that it permitted ; for, on advancing, albeit with tread most cautious, his empe- 
rorship darted off, with a velocity scarcely allowing the eye to follow his airy flight, 
until high above a neighbouring oak tree, he again besported himself on motionless 
wing, gliding or wheeling spirally aloft, in the full enjoyment of his liberty, as if 
conscious that he was beyond the research of entomological curiosity and contact. 

Camberwell Beauty ( Vanessa antiopa). There is a passage in Foster's 
Essays, which I have never read (and often and often have I referred to it) with- 
out a deep conviction of its truth and beauty. " Places and things which have an 
association with any of the events or feelings of past life will greatly assist the re- 
collection of them. A man of strong associations finds memoirs of himself already 
written on the places where he has conversed with happiness or misery. If an 
old man wished to animate, for a moment, the languid and faded ideas which he 
retains of his youth, he might walk with his crutch across the green where he once 
played with companions, who are now probably laid to repose in another spot not 
far off. An aged saint may meet again some of the affecting ideas of his early 
piety, in the place where he first thought it happy to pray. A walk in a mea- 
dow, the sight of a bank of flowers, perhaps even of some one flower, a landscape 
with the tints of autumn, the descent into a valley, the brow of a mountain, the 
house where a friend has been met, or has resided, or has died, have often pro- 



204 

duced a much more lively recollection of our past feelings, and of the objects and 
events which caused them, than the most perfect description could have done ; and 
we have lingered a considerable time for the pensive luxury of thus resuming, if I 
may so express it, the departed state of our minds. How much there is in a thou- 
sand spots of the earth that is invisible and silent to all but the conscious individual." 
It was on a summer evening, of early life, when little more than a child, in 
rambling through a wood on a holiday, my attention was drawn to a sprav on 
which rested a Camberwell Beauty. I had never seen such perfection before. 
My eye rested on the rich dark velvety wings, fringed with ermine white, relieved 
by an inner border of metallic blue spots, like bracelets of lapis lazuli. At this 
moment I could mark the very spot in the forest where this vision was revealed, 
and well do I remember the thrill of delight with which I captured and carried off 
my prize in triumph, to exhibit before a little knot of schoolfellows. I can see 
their uplifted hands, I can hear their exclamations of surprise, as they beheld the 
splendid captive. I can recall their features and their forms as if now living, 
though every individual among them has long since been called away, and now 
possibly familiarized with greater things than it is permitted man's philosophy to 
dream of here. But to me, trifling as this little incident may appear to many, the 
results through life have neither been unimportant, useless, or uninfluential ; for it 
is to it I stand indebted for many a happy hour. That " poor insect" awakened a 
taste which has never slumbered ; and the cultivation of natural history has been 
my solace in times and seasons, when the mind required something to fall back 
upon, apart from the business and pursuits of the world. It so happened that 
from the time I have alluded to until a few summers ago, in one of the mountain 
passes of the Pyrenees, I had never met with a single living specimen of Vanessa 
antiopa, when, on a lovely day, on a spray the very counterpart of that of the days 
of my childhood, I saw the expanded wings of this insect, and the days of " auld 
lang syne," which first introduced it to my notice, came across my mind vivid and 
clear as though but of yesterday. This summer, again (and not unfrequently) I 
fell in with this associate of early years. Children, indeed, may they be called of 
the sun. In the hot and sultry hours of noonday, they would flit by, rendering it 
almost impossible to watch their course ; if in these flights two or three met in the 
glade, they paused in their speed, and, fluttering together, so busied themselves in 
their conflict of rivalry or affection, I know not which, that I more than once 
caught two at a time, and after admiring them, in gratitude for the benefit I had 
received at their hands, sent them forth once again to enjoy their summer revel- 
ries. At other times (I particularly recollect one occasion), in a wood on the sum- 
mit of the Drackenfels, when the wind was rather keen, I found numbers resting 
on the backs of trees, in a state of stupor ; they made no attempts to escape, and 
when thrown into the air their wings barely opened, or flapping feebly, eased their 
fall,- or enabled them to seek repose on the stem of the nearest tree. 



205 

The White Admiral (Limenitis Camilla). Nearly as abundant, and in situ- 
ations similar to the preceding, and more easily taken, even in the heat of the day; 
for, although their flight when on the wing is rapid in the extreme, they seem to 
be so absorbed, when in contact with the nectaries of the bramble blossom, as to 
forget all but the immediate luxury of suction. Nothing can be more interesting 
than to observe the contrast of the upper and under wings, as they slowly shut and 
open on the flower : a person not conversant with this peculiarity would have a 
difficulty in persuading himself that the insect with the closed and opened wings 
was one and the same. 

Silver-washed Fritillary ( Argynnis paphiaj. With the exception of the 
splendid Swallow-tailed Machaon, none of the above insects so prominently catch 
the eye of the passing traveller as this species of the Fritillaria. Its size, its gaudy 
bright bay or chesnut colour, chequered with black spots and streaks on the upper, 
contrasted with the metallic lustre of the silvery iridescent tinge of the under, side 
of its lower wings, cannot fail of striking the attention of the dullest observer. 
In the heat of the day, on almost every hedge-side few or more may be seen. But, 
to contemplate them in perfection, let me recommend the Entomologist who passes 
through Carlsruhe, to tarry awhile and expose himself to the burning rays of a 
July sun, on the bare, exposed, widely extended, and almost boundless gravel es- 
planade in front of the Ducal residence. No hint will be necessary to induce 
him to seek, if not shelter, at least variety, in addition to their grateful though 
almost overpowering fragrance, within the lengthened lines of orange trees all in 
richest and healthiest bloom, and there will he have an opportunity of seeing what 
the Paphia really is when under the influence of sunbeams which seem to awaken 
every nerve, and muscle, and passion into action, in the full enjoyment of the 
odoriferous banquet provided by these balmy blossoms. Not by twos or threes, 
but by almost hundreds, I saw them, now hovering, now reposing on the orange 
flowers. Bishop Heber, in a beautiful passage on the sum of happiness enjoyed 
by the lower classes of creation, speaks of the flying fish as leaping from the water, 
not as is generally supposed, from apprehension of danger, but " apparently in 
the gladness of their hearts, and in order to enjoy the sunshine and the temporary 
change of element." " Those writers (he adds) who described the life of these ani- 
mals as a constant succession of alarms, and rendered miserable bv fear, have ne- 
ver seen them in their mirth, or considered those natural feelings of health and 
hilarity which seems to lead all creatures to exert, in mere lightness of heart, 
whatever bodily powers the Creator has given them."* I was never more struck 
with the force of this remark than on the day I witnessed the countless assem- 
blage of the silver Fritillaries on the orange blossoms before the palace of Carls- 
ruhe. There was a quivering sense of delight in every motion. So intoxicated 

* Heber's Journal, vol. 1, p. xxiii. 



206 

were they with the luscious juices pumped up by their deeply inserted proboscis, 
that they might be approached, and even captured with little address or difficulty ; 
and it was delightful to see the smart, healthy, and invigorated percussion of their 
wings against each other, and hear the clacking sound, which like a clapping of 
hands, might be considered as indicative of the pure and unalloyed pleasure these 
humble retainers at the bounteous table of nature were privileged to enjoy without 
measure or reserve. 

The Black Hair-streak ( Thecla prunij. One of our ablest writers, Mr. 
Curtis, tells us that this insect was almost totally unknown to the Entomologists 
of Great Britain until lately. When in Yorkshire, a year or two ago, according 
to his account, and near Ripley, according to Mr. Stephens, it was taken in abun- 
dance ; the hedges of the latter locality being enlivened by myriads hovering over 
flowers and bramble blossom, in one particular spot, while other hedges at no great 
distance were perfectly free, though the brambles were in plenty. My own evi- 
dence will go with these authorities towards the establishment of the fact of the 
partial locality and occasional profusion of these elegant little butterflies. In Eng- 
land I had never seen one living, and it was not till I arrived at Ems, and was 
ascending the hill, in a glade of which I saw the purple Emperor above-mentioned, 
that I met with a single specimen ; the first I saw arrested my steps, and I 
watched it for a minute or two, with that indescribable satisfaction known only to 
the Naturalist, be he botanist, ornithologist, or entomologist ; but the pleasure of 
novelty was soon satiated, by finding that my little friend was but the avant cou- 
rier of a host, billetted over a region of underwood, a few paces in advance. When 
settled, they close their wings and display to the utmost advantage the bright 
orange border and caudal appendage to the lower wing, and allow themselves to 
be captured without much difficulty. In subsequent rambles I not unfrequently 
found them, but never in such abundance as in this place. 

And here I should close my lepidopteral remarks were it not that I would ex- 
press my regret and inability to describe one other species of Papilio which came 
under my observation in only one particular spot, half-way down the long hill lead- 
ing into the valley of Ems, on the road from Ehrenbreitstein. Once or twice, like 
little meteors, an insect had glanced by, more resembling some I had seen as be- 
longing to tropical climates than natives of Europe. At last a pair happened to 
meet, and while fluttering together, I was fortunate to capture one, which was, 
much, to my mortification, rubbed to pieces before I could secure it in a safe po- 
sition. I have in vain looked through the plates of Godart's extensive work on 
Continental Lepidoptera, and hitherto have had no opportunity of consulting other 
works or cabinets, to ascertain the name of certainly the most beautiful as well 
as rarest of the Papilio tribe I met with during my excursion. 

Yellow Beetle ( Trichius fasciatus, Don., p. 140). Rare in this country, 
though less so on the western than eastern coasts, according to Stephens, who 



207 

gives Swansea as the place of the most abundant locality. It is, however, very 
common on the Continent, and almost always to be found in the heat of the day 
on umbelliferous plants. It is a remarkably comfortable-looking insect ; its head, 
thorax, and shoulders, well-covered with a thick down of tawny hairs, give it the 
appearance of a dull Scotch Terrier ; for it never evinces any signs of activity, 
scarcely moving even a limb, apparently quite satisfied to slumber away its life 
unmolested in its umbelliferous bed of flowers. 

Attelabres, or Clenis apiarius. — Said to be taken near Manchester, and has 
been found in Coombe Wood and Dorking ; but, like the preceding, though rare 
in England, it is of frequent occurrence on the Continent. I met with several 
specimens. Its bright red, contrasted with the metallic blue of the elytra, renders 
it very conspicuous. 

Carabus auratus. — A rare British species, or rather was supposed to be so — 
recent search having found it to be even common on certain heaths. Its locality 
on the Continent is in sandy places, where it may be seen occasionally darting off 
at full speed like a locomotive emerald from beneath its covertine of a bush or tuft 
of long grass. It is related of this, or its cousin-germain Calosoma sycophanta> 
that one of the most celebrated French Naturalists was indebted to it for his life. 
During the Peninsular war, as an officer of cavalry, when under fire, he saw one of 
these splendid beetles running on the ground, immediately jumping off his charger, 
and when in the very act of securing his prize in the folds of his foraging cap, a 
round shot struck his horse, and would inevitable have deprived the rider also of 
life or limb but for this fortunate circumstance. 

Musk Beetle ( Cerambyx rnoschatus). — Few insects even of the tropical re- 
gions can rival this most beautiful beetle when arrayed in its bright, vivid, granu- 
lated, green colouring ; for, singularly enough, the specimens vary so strangely, not 
only in tint but size, that, but for distinctive marks, they might be considered 
almost as belonging to different families. The specimen I captured on the conti- 
nent, and the only one, was in the dark road, overshadowed by the dusky foliage 
of those enormous Pines which form the forest surrounding the Alten Schloss, or 
the Castle of Baden. Had it been of the comparatively dull colour of those I 
have met with in England it might have escaped unnoticed, but its effulgent green 
actually glittered on the ground and betrayed its presence. 

(To be continued). 



ON BOTANICAL TERMS. 

The names of the order, tribe, family, section, and domus, all end uniformly 
in zoology, namely, in ores, es, idee, ince, and ites ; and the advantages of this 
plan are self-evident. Botany has at length, though tardily, participated in these 
advantages ; and the honour of having introduced these endings belongs to Lind- 
ley, who first developed his ideas on the subject in his Key to Structural Botany, 
published in 1835. Plants, like birds, are there divided into five orders, namely, 
Exogens (Exogence), Gymnospermens ( Gymnospermenx ) ', Endogens (Endo- 
genx), Rhizanthens ( Rhizanihenm ) , and Acrogens (Acrogenx). These are 
divided into tribes, as Monopetalae, Apetalae, &c. These, again, are divided into 
groups, which terminate in osx ; and each of these are divided into families, 
the names of which are formed by adding acex to the root of the typi- 
cal genus. I have, however, thought that acce would be preferable. The 
inconvenience of the former is not so apparent in the shorter names, as that of 
the Rose family (Rosacea?), or Pine family (Pinacex), but in some of the 
longer names, as that of the Willow-wort family ( Epilooiacex ) , the Fig-wort 
family ( Scrqfulariaceaz),Polypodiacece, Plantaginacew, &c, we should feel relief 
from the omission of a vowel. It would be far less convenient to call the Willet 
family Silviadem than Silviadx, or the Finch family Fringillidece than Fringil- 
lidm ; and if this is acknowledged in zoology why not, also, in botany ? Several 
persons who are willing to adopt the improved nomenclature complain of its incon- 
venience ; and certainly I do not see why any unnecessary difficulties should be 
thrown in the way of any one. These remarks may not be without their utility, 
and therefore I submit them to the botanical readers of The Naturalist, which, 
like every other equally promising Naturalist, has my hearty good wishes. 

C. T. W. 



FOOD OF THE HEDGE COALHOOD (Pyrrhula vulgaris, Tern.) 

With me the Bullfinches (your Hedge Coalhood) are very destructive, parti- 
cularly to the Plum trees, Apples, Medlars, &c. It is the blossom-buds that are 
chiefly preferred. I have dissected dozens of these birds, and have never found 
any remains of insects in the crop or stomach. They are here very numerous, 
being fostered by the extensive plantations I have made ; and I am obliged (reluc- 
tantly I must say) to make war on them every spring. 

P. J. Selby. 



A BOTANICAL TOUR IN HEREFORDSHIRE, MONMOUTHSHIRE, 
AND SOUTH WALES; 

WITH INCIDENTAL NOTICES OF THE SCENERY, ANTIQUITIES, &C. 

By Edwin Lees, F.L.S. & F.E.S.L. 

Any observations that may tend more completely to elucidate the Botany of Great 
Britain, and accumulate materials for a correct geographical distribution of its plants, 
cannot but be regarded with interest by the inquisitive Naturalist, as additional 
links in the scientific chain. This applies, too, more particularly to the district I 
have just cursorily examined, which appears most unaccountably to have been 
greatly neglected by botanical observers, if we except Mr. Dillwyn, who, in the 
first edition of the Botanists Guide through England and Wales, has recorded 
the stations of many plants in Glamorganshire. Respecting the vegetation of the 
other South Welch counties, little seems to be known ; for my friend, Mr. Hew- 
ett Cottrell Watson, in his recent and excellent New Botanist's Guide to the 
Localities of the rarer Plants of Britain, has left Radnorshire an entire blank ; 
stating that the Old Botanist's Guide contained localities for three cryptogamic 
plants only in that county, and that " not any other stations" were known to him. 
And while he has only given thirteen plants to Monmouthshire, four of which 
were communicated by myself, he remarks, under Pembrokeshire — " For this and 
other counties of South Wales, I have to regret the very incomplete lists it is in 
my power to give. Indeed, there is, probably, no other part of Britain, in which 
half-a-dozen counties together are so little known botanically. It is much to be 
wished that some botanical tourist would diligently explore them." This, I think, 
must be allowed to furnish me with a very sufficient text for illustration and re- 
mark ; and having occasion for a little mental and bodily renovation, I resolved 
that while I inhaled the sea breezes on the one hand, I would, if possible, scent out 
some plants on the other. 

Now, then, for the detail of operations. I will first, however, mention, that, 
to prevent trouble and render my researches more accessible, when any plant 
noticed by me is unrecorded by Mr. Cottrell Watson, as located in that vicinity, I 
shall prefix an asterisk to it. 

I entered Herefordshire by the pass through the sienitic chain of Malvern 
Hills, at the northern base of the massive serrated Herefordshire Beacon. Having 
before, in Loudon's Magazine of Natural History, vol. iii., in Hastings's Illus- 
trations of the Natural History of Worcestershire, and in Mr. Watson's New 
Botanist's Guide, detailed all the plants of the Malvern Hills that I was ac- 
quainted with, I here refer to those publications for the Malvern plants, and 
hasten upon new ground. As a lover of justice to fellow-labourers in the same 
vol. i. 2e , 



210 

field with myself, which I trust I ever shall be, not " damning with faint praise," 
or damning with no praise at all, too often practised by envious and unworthy 
rivalry to the prejudice of science, I cannot here avoid referring to the list of 
Malvern Plants published by Mr. Addison, of Malvern, and appended to his ad- 
mirable article on the Medical Topography of Malvern in vol. iv. of TJie Tran- 
sactions of the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association. As I fear that 
article will scarcely penetrate beyond professional hands, from the nature of the 
volume in which it is placed, I shall here subjoin those plants found by Mr. Addi- 
son and not noticed by myself. I, of course, exclude the Mosses and Lichens — of 
which Mr. Addison has produced a copious list — as too numerous to copy, and 
being excluded from Mr. Watson's book, as not conducive to the purpose I have 
in view. 

" Viola hirta. — In a lane at Colwall [Herefordshire] abundantly, Cowleigh 
Park, &c." 

" Campanula latifolia. — In a coppice below the Chalybeate Spa." This is, 
however, very rare in the vicinity of Malvern, a thousand and one excursions 
there never having exhibited it to me. I had the pleasure to see it in Mr. A.'s 
herbarium. 

" Bupleurum tenuissimum. — At Barnard's Green, on the right of the road 
below Garford Court." One of the most remarkable of Mr. Addison's discoveries. 
From Mr. Watson's Guide it appears that, excepting near St. Vincent's Rocks, 
Bristol, this is the only station for this very rare plant on the western side of 
Britain. 

" Torilis infesta. — Corn-fields below Great Malvern." 
" Luciola Forsteri. — In a coppice near the Well House." 
" Saxifraga tridactylites. — On the walls and the roofs of cottages." Very 
common when it once becomes social upon the walls of man, but rare under other 
circumstances. 

" Reseda lutea. — By the sides of the road, common." Mr. Addison's accu- 
racy is not to be suspected, or I should have imagined some mistake. Mr. Wat- 
son has not recorded it as found in Herefordshire or in any part of South Wales. 
As far as I have noticed it is uncommon. 

" Nepeta cataria. — Near the turnpike, by the entrance to Eastnor Castle," 
Herefordshire. 

" Mentha Pulegium. — On the common by the road-side at Barnard's Green." 
" Geranium phceum* — By the side of a watery lane beyond the Hales-end, 
Cradley," Herefordshire. 

" Vicia angustifolia. — Near the Well House." 
" Hypericum dubium. — Frequent about Malvern." 

" Epipactis latifolia In Cowleigh Park, and other places." 

" Euphorbia Characias." — This occurs in Mr. Addison's list without any 



211 

assigned habitat, and is, therefore, I fear, not to be depended upon, having possi- 
bly crept in erroneously. Should this not be the case, it would be gratifying to 
have further particulars respecting it, as there is only one certain locality known 
in England for this plant, and that is in Needwood Forest, Staffordshire. I have 
in vain examined the Spurges at Malvern, with the hope of finding it. 

" Scolopendrium Ceterach On a walk, and on the Abbey Church, Great 

Malvern." This is a very rare fern in Worcestershire, and as it does not grow 
on the Malvern Hills, it must have been introduced at the Abbey. 

Having taken the liberty of making these observations on Mr. Addison's list 
of plants, and inviting the same animadversion on my own, I now proceed with my 
enumeration. Immediately on passing the Malvern chain, a broad belt of grau- 
wacke limestone, forming part of the " silurian system" of Mr. Murchison, fills up 
the intervening country to Ledbury, where the lime is extensively quarried. I 
dismounted to examine the country, and the following plants occurred : — 

*Rosa micrantha. — In various tall, drooping bushes on the grauwacke by the 
side of a rill in the valley beyond the station for the Galanthus nivalis. The 
smaller flowers and more delicate habit of this plant distinguish it from the com- 
mon Sweet Briar, and the fruit is characteristic ; yet vigorous young shoots put 
on a considerable resemblance to R. rubiginosa. I met also with a variety, 
forming a low bush with very delicate smooth leaves, doubly serrated, but without 
glands, except minute ones in the serratures. Scent cowslip-like ; prickles rather 
numerous, scattered, strait, or deflexed, and aggregated in threes, fours, or fives, 
under the stipules. No flowers. 

Rosa rubiginosa. — Who is there that is not familiar with the grateful smell 
of Sweet Briar hedges, and will not hail with joy this favourite of the garden in a 
wild station ? Gathered in the valley north of the Ledbury road, and between 
Ledbury and Bromsberrow. 

* Rosa Forsteri. — This species , (or variety of canina, as considered by some 
botanists) is only placed as occurring in four counties by Mr. Watson, and one of 
these is Worcestershire. I now met with it in Herefordshire, and doubt not it 
will be found of general occurrence. The very hairy midrib of the leaves easily 
distinguishes it, although the extremely short peduncles offer another character 
perhaps variable. 

* Rosa systyla. — This rose seems a comparatively scarce one, and is certainly 
so in this district, where it has very rarely occurred to me. It seems confined to 
the south, according to Mr. Watson, who has it only in seven counties, all of them 
southern, except Worcestershire. It is possible that this species may be passed 
as a variety of R. canina, though the prominent styles offer a distinguishing mark ; 
but the fact is, they do not appear at all conspicuous till the petals and stamens 
have disappeared, when they appear very remarkable ; but the flowers having then 
vanished, the plant has lost its attractions, except to a scrutinizing eye. I found 

2e 2 



212 

it in a hedge on the Bromsberrow-road from Ledbury, just beyond a public house 
called The Pye's Nest. 

Prenanihes muralis and Sedum telephium occurred upon the grauwacke 
rock in the valley below the Beacon, and Carex axillaris and Stellaria uligi- 
nosa in a marshy spot near. 

Several battered specimens of the Yew (Taxus baccata) presented them- 
selves on the side of the road leading to Ledbury, and some very fine aged ones 
adorn the Ridgeway, an ancient raised road leading to Earl Somers' mansion of 
Eastnor Castle. Here, also, I noticed some fine specimens of the Juniper (Juni- 
perus communis J growing among a thicket of brambles. * Viburnum lantana 
and * Clematis vitalba appeared growing upon the limestone within a mile of the 
town of Ledbury. 

The vicinity of Ledbury, blocked up with various detached limestone emi- 
nences on its eastern side, and overlooking the great extension of the old red sand- 
stone, backed by the solemn Black Mountains, presents rather an attractive focus 
to the botanist, which is increased by the prevalence of deep woods along the sides 
and bases of the hills, and the variety of soil, the new red sandstone appearing at 
the distance of three miles only on the Bromsberrow road. I, therefore, paused 
here for the remainder of the day. In the churchyard is a very fine, lofty, spread- 
ing Wytch Elm ( Ulmus montanaj, and avenues of Lime ( Tilia Europcea) 
enfilade the paths. The Red Currant (*Ribes rubrum) was growing as an epi- 
phyte upon them. It is curious that an analagous circumstance is recorded with 
respect to the great Lime-tree at Neustadt ander Linde, Germany, where Goose- 
berries grown in the hollows of the tree there are sold to curious visitors.-}- 

On a limestone hill, north of the church, I found the beautiful Vicia sylvatica 
" canopying Titania's bower,";]: and Epipactis latifolia occurred sparingly. 

Between Ledbury and Bromsberrow I noticed Campanula patula, *C. Tra- 
chelium, and Hypericum androscemum. Acer campestre was very abundant in 
the hedges, one old specimen being seven feet in circumference. 

In passing along a narrow lane in my way towards Bromsberrow Church, I 
came upon an open space at a spot called Brownsend, where stocd a most magni- 
ficent specimen of the * Tilia parvifolia, rivalling in growth and spread of bough 
any Oak or other veteran of the forest. It was not until after close examination 
that I could be satisfied that it was a lime of this species, though in flower : cer- 
tainly the finest I ever saw. At a yard from the ground the trunk measured 
fifteen feet in circumference ; heighth full eighty feet. Although the T. parvi- 
folia is certainly indigenous in the country about the base of the grauwacke 
heights, I conceive this identical specimen to have been planted, not only from its 
central position, but from its vicinity to an old farm house. Some noble old spe- 

■f Loudon's Arboretum Brilannkurn. % Sir Walter Scott. 



213 

cimens of * Tilia grandifolia, of singular growth and large dimensions — drawings 
of which I exhibited at a meeting of the Linnean Society — stand in a meadow in 
the vicinity. Close to the church wall I also noticed a fine growing Oak tower- 
ing high in air ; seventeen feet six inches in girth at a yard from the ground. I 
was much pleased to perceive that some friend of the Dryads — alas 1 too often 
now ruthlessly neglected — inhabited this quarter ; for at the fork of the tree, where 
it divaricated into two vast arms, a piece of lead had been placed and so adjusted 
as to carry off the moisture from, and prevent its decaying, the trunk of the tree. 

From Ledbury to Hereford, and thence to Abergavenny, is a mass of old red 
sandstone, offering few features of interest either geological or botanical, till Mon- 
mouthshire is entered upon. The Wye itself is not very attractive at Hereford ; 
and though the sombre massive cathedral and several singular, grotesque timber 
buildings in that last English city claim the attention of the antiquary, they do 
not, at present, further concern me in my vegetable explorations. As far as my 
observation extended, there appeared no difference in the plants to mark the old 
red sandstone from the new : perhaps the Roses are less abundant and luxuriant, 
R. arvensis rather predominating. It is somewhat curious that *R. viUosa in 
abundance is a distinguishing character in the Welch flora. In Worcestershire 
this is a rare species ; it is of more frequent occurrence in Herefordshire : for I 
observed it in considerable plenty along the hedge between the second and third 
miles from Hereford ; but in Wales itself, as in the vicinity of Brecon and in the 
vale of Neath, its deep pink flowers covering whole thickets in the greatest profu- 
sion, offer an enchanting spectacle to the commonest observer. 

Between Ledbury and Hereford I observed Orchis maculata very plentiful 
in the meadows, and the fragrant Gymnadenia Conopsea sparingly. The latter, 
though stated by Mr. Watson to occur in all our floras, except that of Devon, is 
certainly a local plant, though overspreading whole fields where the soil is con- 
genial to it. 

At Trelew, between Hereford and Pont Rilas, is an Elm ( Ulmus campestrisj 
of great height and magnificence. I omitted to take its dimensions, but was in- 
formed that it was two hundred and seventy years old. It stands close to an old 
farm house by the road side, and was probably planted when the house was erected. 
I heard something relative to this structure having been formerly inhabited by a 
family of consequence ; but a mist has here risen upon my memory, which my 
memorandum book fails to clear up. The Elm seems to have advanced no farther 
in this direction ; and taking leave of the " elmy granges," so characteristic of 
England, I in reality entered South Wales at " Monmouth Cap," although still in 
England by act of parliament.* 

• Monmouthshire was made an English county, by act of parliament, in the reign of 
Henry VIII. ; Welsh is nevertheless very frequently spoken by the country people. 



214 

Crossing the Monnow, which runs by the side of the road for a considerable 
distance till lost in a dingle of the sullen Black Mountains, a pleasing scene pre- 
sents itself. On the left the heights rise up thickly covered with wood, while ex- 
tensive green meadows spread below, through which the shallow river brawls 
hoarsely over its stony bed, seen at intervals through the dense foliage of oaks 
that overshadow it, while here and there a funereal plume of yew increases the 
gloomy solemnity. Beyond, appear the terminating defiles of the mountains, whose 
dark parallel masses envelop each other in deep shadow as the traveller journies in 
apparent review past their huge flanks. Immense quantities of the Petasites vul- 
garis cover the banks and bed of the Monnow with their enormous leaves. I ob- 
served, also, by the road side, a large Salix alba, which, wreathed to its summit 
with Ivy, presented a singular aspect, with its silvery leaves in contrast with the 
dark-green Ivy which, like an insidious serpent, had sprung upon and was over- 
powering it within its multifarious folds. Although the Ivy seems to have no 
choice, but will mount up any tree within its influence, the Salices seem, in gene- 
ral, less liable to its attacks ; and hence, when triumphant, upon a large specimen 
of the alba especially, the picture it presents is rather remarkable. 

As I approached Llanvihangel, the singular hill, called the Skirrid Vawr, 
towered on the left of the road, presenting, in its contour, the remarkable appear- 
ance of a couchant beast of prey with an offspring at its feet. The fact is, that 
this lofty mass of old red sandstone has undergone the phenomenon termed a 
landslip, at some former period, a huge mass having been precipitated from the 
summit to the base of the hill, and a steep precipice and yawning gap now inter- 
vene between the two masses. To add to the picturesque effect, the young one, 
if the fallen rock may be so termed, is now luxuriantly overgrown with wood. 
This circumstance has been seized upon by superstition to impart a " holy" charac- 
ter to the hill, it having been imagined that the rock was " rent" at the crucifixion 
of our Saviour, and it bears the appellation of " The Holy Mountain" to this day 
among the people of the neighbourhood. The foundations of a chapel, dedicate d 
to St. Michael, may still be traced upon the hill, which merits a visit from the 
geologist, though not upon this account. It might be curious to inquire whether, 
in fact, this landslip of the Skirrid Vawr, to which I have alluded, was not really 
co-incident with the celebrated journey of Marclay Hill, in Herefordshire, noticed 
by the old chroniclers, and which is another member of the " old red" strata. 
This .might tend to prove a later shaking of this part of the island than geologists 
have hitherto admitted. 

Llanvihangel House is surrounded with avenues of the Scotch Fir ( Pinus 
sylvestris) finer and more magnificent than I have anywhere else seen, of conside- 
rable altitude and great spread of bough. I measured one of the largest between 
the road and the house, which was eleven feet in circumference at a height as high 
as I could reach to measure, and rising up to the spread of the boughs above fifty 
feet, nearly of the same magnitude of bole. 



215 

At Llanvihangel Pentre I noticed in a field the * Colchicum atitumnale in 
fruit in great profusion ; and on my remarking it to an individual residing near, 
he informed me that, in the spring of the present year, seven cows were poisoned 
in that meadow by feeding upon the plant, and that he himself saw them lying 
dead in the field. He stated that they belonged to a farmer of the name of 
Watkins, who lived in the parish, and was imprudent enough to turn them into 
this meadow in the early spring, after & winter's feeding on hay. Greedy, in con- 
sequence, after green food, they devoured the Colchicum, and were all found 
dead the next morning ! This insidious plant, whose purple flowers in the au- 
tumn are its only recommendation, should be destroyed without mercy by the far- 
mer wherever it presents itself. I do not think, however, unless under the cir- 
cumstances stated, that cattle would, in general, prefer to eat it ; and as its leaves 
and fruit only appear in the spring and early summer, it is innoxious when it 
adorns, as it does profusely in Worcestershire, the short green aftermath. 

As I passed through the valley between the Skirrid Vawr and Sugar Loaf 
Hills, I noticed the * Sanguisorba officinalis in considerable abundance, in the 
meadows on both sides of the road. 

On alighting at Abergavenny, though evening was rapidly approaching, I 
hastened on with the intention of ascending the Sugar Loaf forthwith, but getting 
almost inextricably involved in the dense mass of wood that covers the buttresses 
of the mountain, I found it impossible to get farther than the Derry ; add to 
which, as I emerged from a thicket into a water-course, and caught the purple 
peak of the hill still far distant, it became involved in cloud, and a copious shower 
soaking the long grass and pouring from the bushes, was an, addendum to the 
excursion not calculated upon or provided for. I therefore leaped one of the stony 
water-courses, and made my best way to a practicable path. In my passage I 
encountered some curiously contorted dwarf Beech trees (Fagus sylvatica), 
though planted I have no doubt ; for though, according to Mr. Watson's Geogra- 
phical Distribution of British Plants, it would appear that the Beech held rank 
in all our floras, I have never yet met with it in the midland counties or South 
Wales in a situation where its claims as a truly indigenous species could be con- 
sidered indisputable. 

The late Mr. Purton, of Alcester, who was justly honoured by Sir J. E. Smith 
with the appellation of " accurate," has recorded in his Midland Flora the occur- 
rence of Melampyrum sylvaticum in " the woods at the foot of the Sugar Loaf, 
in great plenty."* After an attentive examination of the woods " at the foot of 
the Sugar Loaf," I am, however, fully persuaded that the plant there occurring " in 
great plenty" is not the real M. sylvatica, but a variety of M. pratense, with en- 
tire floral leaves, the fi . of Dr. Hooker's British Flora, and the M. montanum of 

* Purton's Midland Flora, vol. ii., p. 751. 



216 

Dr. Johnston's Flora of Berwick-upon-Tweed. This at all events was the only 
Melampyrum that I could find, and it was very plentiful in the woods of the Der- 
ry. As the trivial name pratense is so very uncharacteristic, and the plant is an 
invariable attendant upon hilly woods, if Dr. Johnston's plant cannot stand as a new 
species, the name montana substituted for pratense would be advantageous, and 
prevent those errors to which all botanists are liable, especially if the plant be 
named from a casual inspection only, in combination with the habitat presumed 
from the name. 

As I descended the hill through the woody outlets, the magnificent Blorenge 
mountain, robed in the deepest purple, gleamed at intervals as I caught it through 
the watery cloud ; and the last tinge of sunset was lost in the rising mists that 
began to overshadow the romantic valley of the Usk. The Bat and the Eve -jar, 
issuing from their retreats, passed rapidly among the thick foliage, and I emerged, 
at last, into a deep hollow-way leading to Abergavenny. * Hypericum dubium, 
and *Lepidium Smithii, in great profusion, occurred in the fields bordering upon 
the Derry Wood. 

\ To be continued.] 



REMARKS ON THE PRESENT NOMENCLATURE OF BRITISH 

ORNITHOLOGY, 

WITH A VIEW TO ITS REVISION AND CORRECTION. 

By the Rev. F. Orpen Morris. 
[Continued from page 160.] 

Before proceeding with my observations on the English nomenclature of our 
British Birds, I must supply the omission of an exception to the second rule I laid 
down, with regard to specific names, that is, that " the specific name should ex- 
press, to the fullest possible extent, the peculiar characteristics of the bird." 
There are many species named after individuals, either after those who have dis- 
covered them, or, by those who have done so, in honour of some friend or illustri- 
ous observer of nature, and their name evidently cannot express any of the cha- 
racteristics of the species they represent. Now, it is scarcely necessary to stipu- 
late that such names as these should be only exceptions to the general rule, as the 
greater portion of animated nature has already received a nomenclature in every 



217 

class. In the second part of the above rule, I contend that no name which is not 
faulty, should be changed, even for one more comprehensive ; and this, the very 
nature of nomina adulatoria* would prevent ; still I maintain that it is fair and 
legitimate that such names as these should, on proper occasions, be allowed. I am 
borne out in this proposition by the opinion of Mr. Westwood, in a clever paper 
of his, which, singularly enough, appeared in Loudon's Magazine of Natural 
History, contemporaneously with mine upon nearly the same subject. As one 
reason against changing such names, he mentions " the injustice done thereby to 
the original describer of the species, whose name is thus supplanted :" and, further, 
he says with truth, " the custom of forming specific names from the name of the 
captor or possessor of a new species, although condemned as a fault by a recent 
anonymous writer, has been sanctioned by every Naturalist since the days of Lin- 
neus — it is an honourable testimony of the opinion of fellow labourers." I must 
confess that I may appear to be not altogether an uninterested advocate of this 
practice, even " in prospectu" (vide, also, Curtis's British Entomology, No. 110, 
p. 441) ; but, nevertheless, I have always maintained the same opinion, and I 
have read as yet no arguments likely to induce me to change it ; " nor think it not 
immodesty" that, for the present, I agree on this point with Mr. Westwood, and 
I am glad to find that it is not the only one connected with the general subject I 
am investigating in which our views coincide. 

But I must proceed, " unde a quo abi redeo," and I will commence my ob- 
servations with candidly stating my opinion that it will be a happy day for nomen- 
clature when English names are totally abolished. It maybe all very well for 
unscientific persons to retain, pro tempore, the local names, which are most of 
them varied in different parts of the country : thus the Missel Thrush, for in- 
stance, of one place, is the Stormcock of another: but we hope the rapid 
progression of knowledge, which has of late years taken place, will continue to 
be yet more extensively, if not universally, diffused, and render it quite as easy for 
those who possess even a small stock of erudition, to call a bird, or an insect, or a 
plant by its scientific and Latin name, as by its vulgar one. Here we need not 
speculate : we have only to look at what has already taken place. We are 
speaking now of birds ; but let us argue more philosophorum " from like to like." 
Have not the coleoptera almost exclusively Latin names, not one in a hundred 
being degraded by a vulgar, or what might, with more propriety of language 
than the word is usually connected with, be called a " trivial" name ?f 

* With regard to the mode of forming these names, the Latinity of the middle ages, as 
Mr. "Westwood observes, must be employed ; but this is so evident, that I am surprised 
at his having thought it necessary to argue this question, or mention it at all. ■ 

f As I am chiefly speaking of British birds, it would be hardly fair to use the argument 
which might be derived from considering the countless number of foreign species, which 
might, perhaps not quite with equal justice, but certainly with some shew of reason, demand 
VOL. i. 2f 



218 

What impediments can arise, for example, in consequence of Prionus coria- 
rins, or Philonthus impressicollis, or Emus hirtus, having no other than Latin 
names, heside the thousands of other British insects which have no names except 
those of Latin or Greek composition ? Nay, more ; how very few are there even 
of those which have English names that are called by them generally hy collec- 
tors, throughout the country : take the very first that occurs in Curtis's Guide to 
an Arrangement of British Insects, the lovely genus Cicindela : " ex uno disce 
omnes" The Cicindelee are anglicised Sparklers ; but are they ever so called 
even in common entomological parlance ? Why, then, should we find a difficulty 
or make one with birds which scarcely exists in the case of insects, and almost 
still less with plants ? Is it not quite as easy to speak of the Oriolus galbula 
as of the Golden Oriole ? to point to a Hirundo riparia as to a Sand Martin ? 
or to say that we have shot a Phalaropus as a Phalarope ? I have a great re- 
spect for antiquity, which my former arguments will sufficiently prove ; but in the 
cause of science all things subordinate to it should give place, and we must make 
a sacrifice even of our prejudices and associations in her behalf. Why should we 
create a difficulty with one class or one genus of the same class which does not 
exist in another ? In many, even in by far the greater number, we have no pre- 
judices to contend with, no English names to remove ; and, even among birds, 
the more recently discovered ones have either no English names, or, if they have, 
the use of them is scarcely ever called into exercise : take for example the Anthus 
Ricardi, which is much more frequently so called, even by those who are not conver- 
sant with Latin, than " Richards' Lark" and the Cursorius isabellinus than the 
Cream-coloured Swiftfoot. With what are more properly called the indigenous 
birds, the difficulty in the way is the universal diffusion of their English names, 
given to them before science had yet assigned Latin names to them ; with more 
modern discoveries this is not the case, and, therefore, the same difficulty does not 
exist. Then, again, the original birds, if I may use the term, have shorter, more 
vernacular, and unmeaning names ; but when we come to more recently disco- 
vered or less generally distributed species, then we find longer, more descriptive, 
and more modern names. Of the former, take as examples the Robin, the 
Throstle, Dunnock, Gull, Cormorant, &c, of the latter, the Olivaceous Gallinule, 
Whitewinged Crossbill, Funereal Owl, and Whitebellied Swift ; but this, I am 
willing to admit, is partially accounted for by the necessity of the discrimination 
of diverse species, modern discoveries pointing them out, though formerly, perhaps, 
all comprehended under one common name. But if, for the present, we are to 
retain English names at all, we ought, in the first place, to alter them as little as 
possible, il nomina trivilia nunquam absque summa necessitate mutanda sunt ;" 

from us English names for themselves as well as our more favoured native birds, especially 
when the former are now almost as extensively diffused, in a preserved state, in this coun- 
try, as the latter in a living state. 



\ 



219 

because, as I have before observed, they are of little or no use to the scientific 
Naturalist, and their use to others will be done away with if they are to be 
changed incessantly, and transposed backwards and forwards, thus rendering con- 
fusion only worse confounded, no doubt with the best intentions. Under these 
circumstances I advocate the retention of such English names as either have no 
meaning (at all events none which persons in general would detect), for instance, 
Guillemot, Auk, and Eagle ; or if they have a meaning let it be as nearly as 
possible a literal translation of the Greek or Latin name. In cases where a bird 
has been properly removed to one genus from another, or to a new genus, the 
classical name being changed, it is also right that the English name should under- 
go a transmutation, but the original name should be reserved for the original or 
most typical genus. Mr. C. T. Wood seems inclined to act upon this principle, 
and he is quite right in doing so ; but as he has also written upon the subject of 
nomenclature, I will take this opportunity of expressing my opinion of the way in 
which, in some other matters, he has worked out and developed his own theses. 

He is very unfortunate in one of his interrogations : " what a much more 
lively expression of the birds" he asks, " do the following specific names convey ?" 
(than the original ones):* — " Rosecoloured Amzel :" may I ask what expres- 
sion this latter word conveys, unless some latent and recondite one, of which, I am 
sure, most persons, in common with myself, are ignorant : the same observation 
applies to Honey Pern, Furze Whinling, Sibilo.us Brahehopper, Common 
Longtail, &c. &c. ; to which the " Rose Muflin is added ;" " Afedula Sonans" 
of Mr. Wood in one place, " Afedula Rosea" in another. " This," he tells us, 
" is the Long-tailed Tit of authors ;" and really, the information is not thrown 
away, for I am not ashamed to confess that without it, I should have been utterly 
at a loss even to guess what bird was intended. Allow me also to inquire of Mr. 
C. T. Wood, the meaning and derivation of the word Aiedula. Is A^ihedula in- 
tended, from Aphides perhaps being preyed on by the bird ? I am inclined to 
conjecture this to be the case, from Mr. Wood's saying elsewhere, that Phasianus 
ought to be spelled Fasianus, and Sylvia, Silvia. I hope, however, he will not be 
offended at my telling him very plainly that here he is quite in error — at least, if 
he is right, Eton and Oxford are far wide of the mark, for they teach a very dif- 
ferent orthography, and so also does Pliny, the illustrious patriarch of natural 
history, who may be supposed to be an authority for the orthography of his own 
language ; being one of the most elegant writers in it whose works have come 
down to us, and with which I may profess some little acquaintance, having taken 
up a portion of them for examination at Oxford, for the first time in that univer- 
sity. The above instances which I have given of Mr. C. Wood's alterations in 
nomenclature, are some of them gratuitous ; but even with regard to those which 

* I write from memory, and am, therefore, liable to some trifling inaccuracy. 

2f 2 



220 

are not, does he seriously imagine or expect that they will ever come into general 
circulation, or that their cacophony will he endured ? I do assure him that they 
never will. 

One word on the name troglodytes, which Mr. Wood says should be written 
troglodytes, but which error I must; also prevent from being perpetuated. The 
word originally was the name of a people, and given to them from their custom of 
inhabiting subterranean dwellings, r^yi* a den, and %6w to enter. Mr. C. T. 
Wood says that the name is engaged for a genus of Mammals. He commits the 
same error in the word Nicticorax, &c. &c. as every classical scholar must admit. 

I cordially agree with Mr. Wood, that it is to be regretted that unnecessary 
changes have been made in scientific works by Naturalists of high repute, as, in 
addition to the confusion produced, an example is thereby set which may be, and is, 
prejudicial to the interests of science; and it is on this very account that I must, 
in conclusion, take some notice of the favourable opinion he gives in the last 
number of The Naturalist, of Mr. Neville Wood's book, which, he says, has 
two or three errors, such as Phamicura for Ruticilla, and BraJcehopper for Lo- 
i custel. To the first of these appellations, I suppose Mr. C. Wood objects as being 
of Greek derivation, for in Loudon's Magazine, loco citato, he says, that he ob- 
jects to Greek* words being employed at all in ornithological nomenclature ; but as 
he gives no reason for this objection, we have yet to learn their ground of offence. 
As, however, I have avowed myself an advocate for their use, I shall feel thank- 
ful for any arguments adduced on the other side ; and if I deem them sufficient, 
I will lose no time in giving my assent. Having nothing at heart in these re- 
marks but the advantage and interest of ornithology as a branch of science, I trust 
that Mr. G. T. Wood will receive my strictures in the spirit in which they are 
given ; remembering his own quotation from Mr. Blyth as to the good that will 
result from dispassionate discussion of the principles of nomenclature.-)- 

I must reserve the synoptical list of British birds, which I propose giving, for 
a future number ; and in the mean time will conclude this paper by stating that 
the idea of the conclave of Naturalists, to decide on the retention or discarding of 
names, is not my own, but was suggested some time ago by my friend, Mr. H. E. 
Strickland — a fact I omitted to mention in my last communication. 

* "I abjure the practice of mixing Greek words and Latin together, cmiusini more bilin- 
guis, in the compounded names of genera or species : it is equally useless and absurd." 

f Mr. C. T. Wood, in speaking ofnomina adulutoria, says that Mr. Lansdown Guilding's 
opinion entirely accords with his own, and quotes Mr. Guilding, where he says that such 
names should never be applied to genera. But Mr. Wood is speaking of specific names, 
and seems to suppose that Mr. Guilding's words bear him out in what he says about them. 
Here there appears to be some mistake ; certainly, however, I agree with both, that the 
names in question should not be applied to genera. I think the instances of their being so 
used, are comparatively rare. 

[To be concluded in our nc.it.] 



REMARKABLE INSTANCES OF NIDIFICATION. 

The instance recorded by me, in a former number, of the eccentric nidifica- 
tion of a Wren (Anorthura) having elicited a singular parallel from another Cor- 
respondent (see page 181), I shall give a few more occurrences of a similar nature 
and equally interesting. I may here state; in reply to that Correspondent, that 
the nest of the Chimney Swallow (Hirundo garrula, Blyth), appropriated too 
unceremoniously by the noisy little Wren, was built in an outhouse, and it was so 
constructed that the feathered tenants could only just enter by the space left 
between the upper part of the front wall of the nest and the ceiling of the shed. 

In the hall of my former residence, Chimney Swallows attempted to build in 
the upper corners of the walls, for several years successively, making use of the 
ceiling instead of laboriously constructing the costly dome of the Rose Muflin 
( Mecistura rosea).* So unweariedly did these nature-taught architects ply 
their hod and mortar that they contrived to advance far in their " temples not 
made with hands" before much attention had been attracted by their journeys 
backwards and forwards. The vigilant eyes of the house-maids — a class of per- 
sons, by the bye, who are most of them destructives — were speedily directed 
towards the procreant cradles of my little favourites, and they were destroyed. 
Nothing daunted, the Swallows renewed their attempts at establishing their in-door 
colony, working like so many masons ; but it was all labour in vain. I would 
willingly have marked the lintels of the entrances, that the destroyer might pass 
by ; but the unlucky Swallows were apt to get into a sky-light, which proved as 
fatal to them as was Doubting Castle of Giant Despair, in the Pilgrims Pro- 
gress, to the unfortunate mortals who entered in thereat. I, therefore, had the 
door closed till the mania was over. 

I have noticed several other rather strange choices of places for building ma- 
nifested by birds ; and as the feathered bipeds have no Architectural Magazine, 
their choice of a site may be determined by caprice rather than by fixed principles. 
I refer the reader to page 513 of the Field Naturalist's Magazine for a very 
remarkable instance of attachment to its nest manifested by a Garden Willet 
(Sylvia melodia, Blyth). I have known a similar instance of attachment to home 
in the Noisy Willet ( Sylvia loquax, Herbert) ; and though the nest in this in- 
stance was certainly not " made a complete ruin by a flock of Ducks," yet it was 
sufficiently damaged to afford abundant apology for desertion. I have witnessed 
the nests of the Common Redstart ( Rulicilla lusciniaj, the Robin Redbreast 
( Rubecula familiaris ) , and several other common birds, in extraordinary situa- 
tions, which, at some future time, I may probably describe. 

C. T. Wood. 

* Longtailed Tit and Pants caudatus of old authors : Leach has very properly consti- 
tuted a new genus for the reception of this species and its congeners. The Muscicapa luc- 
tnom of old authors I propose to call the Pied Collet (Apliedula lucluosaj. 



222 
NOTES OF A BOTANIST. 

(Continued from page 124 ,). 
Peculiarities of Form in the Structure of the Blossom. 

Amidst the endless diversity discoverable in the forms of the blossom, we 
find some unusual singularities, and these striking deviations, we may rest assured, 
have their peculiar design in the beneficent arrangements of a prospective Provi- 
dence. The Fly, Bee, Wasp, and Butterfly Orchises — the flowers of the Oncidi- 
um papilio, and those of the Peristeria elata, not to name myriads more of re- 
markable epiphytes, adorned with blossoms as exquisitely beautiful as they are 
singularly curious — all have a specific purpose to fulfil in the economy of creation. 
Not the least remarkable among blossoms are the flowers of the Aristolochia : 
those of the A. trifida have a prolonged lip, which, from its slender form, might 
be truly called " a hair lip." A proper inspection of the distribution of the blos- 
soms will unveil the design of this curious conduit. The flower is a true conden- 
ser of the aqueous vapour that settles on it ; and, on the principles of radiation, 
the structure and the colour will facilitate the deposition of dew, while the elon- 
gated lip as duly transmits the stream to the roots of the plant. Many plants, at 
the period of inflorescence, require an unusual supply of water ; such as the Hey- 
dychium favum, and others. 

The Kaulfussia amelloides presents a singular feature in its individual petals : 
they are rolled up, or curled like a lady's tresses, and temperature seems to be 
intimately connected with the phenomenon ; nor is it unlikely that moisture has 
something to do with it, cold being the result of its evaporation. I found that the 
flower of the K. amelloides, when pressed in contact with a heated metallic plate, 
instantly unrolled its petals, which were as suddenly coiled up again on transfer- 
ring the disc of the flower to the surface of cold water. On the other hand, the 
flowers of the Mesembryanthemum, on their approach to the source of heat, in- 
flected their petals inwards towards the centre. 

Maturation of Seeds. 

In a former section, it will be remembered, I adverted to the natural ventila- 
tion of seeds, and incidentally mentioned some interesting provisions made for 
this purpose. To secure their maturation, we find insulation and uniformity of 
temperature not unfrequently essential conditions, and these are accordingly sti- 
pulated for in the physiology of plants. A continental writer has, in a recent 
number of the Magazine of Natural History, favoured us with some crude and 



223 



undigested experiments made on the Arachis hypogcea, or " ground nut ;" and 
his conclusions are, as might be expected, meagre and unsatisfactory : namely, that 
darkness may be necessary to perfect the maturity of the pod, and that it may 
further absorb " something" from the earth, and this " something" may be water. 
To those who have attended to the phenomena of this extraordinary plant, the 
true cause is evidently to secure the uniformity of temperature maintained by 
terrestrial warmth. The temperature of the earth and the air are very diffe- 
rent : that of the former will remain comparatively uniform during the night, 
whereas the latter will be subject to incessant vicissitudes. It is thus that, in a 
medium of uniform temperature, immature seeds may be ripened ; and in this 
manner have I matured the green fruit of the Bannana : a thousand proofs might 
be adduced in verification. The Colchicum autumnale ripens its seed-vessel and 
contents below the surface of the ground, and if circumstances do not permit the 
cyclamen to bury its seeds for the same purpose, it is interesting to observe how 
carefully it coils the stalk round the vessel, so as effectually to conceal it ; not 
merely to shroud it in darkness, but to preserve externally the uniformity of tem- 
perature maintained by the plant. 

On the same principle are similar phenomena developed in aquatic vegetation. 
The Ranunculus aquatica matures its seeds below the surface, the Valisneria 
spiralis retracts its seed-vessels to the bottom of the river, and the Nelumbium, 
Nymphea, and Nuphar withdraw their seed-vessels from the surface, to escape 
from the effects of radiation, and take advantage of a medium comparatively 
unchangeable and free from those alterations to which the aerial medium is con- 
stantly subject. Sometimes bags or bladders of air fulfil the purpose of insulation, 
as in the seed-vessels of the Passijlora cerulea and Colutea frutescens ; at other 
times, silk and cotton are the means employed ; examples are supplied in the 
Asclepias Syriaca, Gessypium hei'baceum, and " Silk-cotton Tree." We have 
an evident proof that this is the intention, or at least the inference amounts to 
probability, in the fact that we meet with the same provision in denizens of the 
desert, between the tropics, as in arctic and antarctic lands ; thus, the seeds of the 
Stapelia are enveloped in a silky down, as well as those of the Lilliputian Wil- 
lows, on the shores of West Greenland. 

The Economy of Bulbs. 

Under this section it is not my intention to enter upon a description of the 
various structures presented by bulbs, or the different offices or functions they are 
destined to fulfil. My task, at present, will be confined to the provisions in their 
economy to meet extraordinary contingencies. The distillatory function of the 
Calla JEthiopica and Agapanthus umbellatus will be remembered; but the 
change of place or position is not less remarkable. While plants generally 



224 



remain fixed to the spot, and their roots radiate in every direction, and extend far 
and wide, as purveyors in search of food, there are others that are truly locomo- 
tive ; the Orchis and Monkshood move laterally from their original position — 
a phenomenon still more remarkable in the Arum dracunculus. In these the 
motion is superficial ; but some Cape bulbs display a feature equally curious. 
Some of the Ixias form their future bulbs below the original or parent bulbs, so 
that they sink deeper into the sand ; a most wise and beautiful provision-, when 
it is considered that they are constantly subject to denudation from the moving 
sands and the blasts of the desert. This is the case, too, with the Aniholyzas, 
and even the Anomatheca cruenta. 

(To be continued). 



INSTANCES OF CURIOUS VARIETIES OF BIRDS. 

One of the mostremarkable varieties of plumage in the feathered race that 
ever fell under my observation, was a Cuckoo entirely white. I regret that I 
know nothing of its history, or even where it was shot ; but it is still in the pos- 
session of Mr. Reid, Animal Preserver, of Doncaster, where I saw it. I 
have known two or three instances of white Jays, one of a white Jackdaw Crow, 
one of an entirely white Hedge Coalhood (or Hedge Alp, as it might be named), 
and several of partially white Garden Ouzels, (Merula vulgaris). The distri- 
bution of the black and white is generally pretty much the same in the varieties of 
the last-mentioned species. In my collection is a variety of the Garden Ouzel, 
a female, which was about to lay when it was shot. " I have a female Whin Lin- 
net (Linaria cannabina)" writes Mr. Blyth, " which I purchased last year, 
having a very little white ; it has moulted this season, and has now become at least 
one-third white, its bill and feet also losing their colour. Next autumn I expect 
it will turn entirely white." A Rook was recently shot by the keeper to John 
Silvester, Esq., of the Grove, near Ashbourn, the head, feet, and bill of which 
are nearly white, and the primary feathers of the wing are perfectly white." 

N. W. 
Campsall Hall, 

.. Nov. 2, 1836. 



225 



REVIEWS 



The Natural History and Classification of Birds. By William Swainson, 
A.C.G., F.R.S.L.S. Vol. I., being vol. LXXXIII. of Lardner's Cabinet 
Cyclopaedia, pp. 365. London : Longman & Co. 

The savage who first placed upon his head a flaming feather from the plumage 
of the Toucan, as little considered the importance of an] investigation into the 
structure and habits of birds as he who, in the present day, runs over the pages of 
the richly illustrated works arrayed in all the splendours of art the zoological 
draughtsman can bestow, and fondly fancies himself an ornithologist. It is not 
now the pastime of turning over plates or drawings that will constitute any one an 
ornithologist ; it must not be concealed that deep and attentive study is required 
to fully comprehend all the details of the science, and that there are difficulties in 
scientific arrangement and classification sufficient to blunt the edge of the ardour 
of the most enthusiastic. Mr. Swainson not unadvisedly, then, intimates that no 
" Introduction to Modern Ornithology," calculated for the present state of science, 
yet exists, and proposes to supply the deficiency in the present work, which he has 
arranged in three departments : Part I. — On the structure and natural history of 
birds in general : Part II. — On the bibliography, nomenclature, and preservation 
of birds : Part III. — On the natural history and relations of the different orders, 
tribes, and families of birds. 

On these topics Mr. Swainson dilates with the practised hand of a master ; he 
has been an observer in the cabinet and the field, and it would be injustice not to 
admit that, with much information on the external anatomy of birds, the volume 
combines some very agreeable writing. In short, it is what we always must ap- 
prove — scientific information imparted in a pleasing manner. For the present, 
we must defer our examination of Mr. Swainson's classification till the appearance 
of the second volume, particularly as it proceeds no farther than the insessorial 
order ; and as he states it to be " the result of the last six years' study," it will 
be most advantageous to discuss its merits when placed before us entire and com- 
plete. We shall now, therefore, assume to ourselves the privilege of a " rapto- 
rial" bird, and shall pounce down without ceremony upon whatever appears to de- 
serve our notice, and meets our exploring eye within Mr. Swainson's preserve. 
We feel obliged, however, to take exception to the somewhat lordly manner with 
which Mr. Swainson delivers his dicta ex cathedra, and his almost total neglect 
of his contemporaries, unless they have been concerned in the manufacture of 
splendid quartos or folios, or it is their goodfortune " in courts to shine. " Thus, 

VOL. I. 2 G 



226 

while the most unqualified praise is bestowed upon the Prince of Musignano, for 
his additions to Wilson's Birds, which are " exceedingly scarce volumes," and 
were never " offered for sale ;" poor Bewick, whose admirable figures of British 
Birds gave an impetus to the study of native ornithology never before effected by 
the most splendid Planches Enlumine.es — is cursorily passed by as not to be " for- 
gotten," and Mudie's volumes are unmentioned. There is also an unfairness in 
obviously alluding to a person without mentioning his name, a littleness that every 
candid mind must disclaim. Why, then, is Audubon's controversy with Water- 
ton, about the sense of smell in the Vulture noticed, but Waterton's name avoided ? 
" Amateurs," it is stated at p. 211, have often visited Demerara, " whose sole ob- 
ject seems to have been that of procuring perfect skins : as to the habits of the 
birds themselves, their structure, or their classic names, we know almost as little 
about them as if they never existed." This passage obviously alludes to Mr. 
Waterton's well known Wanderings, where it has always struck us that the neg- 
lect of scientific names was to be deplored. But at the same time, is no idea of 
the glorious productions of that splendid region obtained from the Wanderings! 
We surely see the Coutinghas and the Humming-birds, if we cannot classify them, 
and the measured note of the Bell-bird rings even now upon our ears from the 
depths of the humid forests. At all events, to condemn an author by implication, 
and yet ingeniously avoid naming either him or his work, appears to us an act of 
injustice, which, whether proceeding from friend or foe, we will ever honestly 
expose. As to the Prince of Musignano, we cannot consider that author the 
greatest benefactor of mankind who publishes works, however admirable, which 
are unattainable except to a favoured few, who shew them as they would shew a 
wild animal they were afraid to lose, within the inelosure of a brazen lattice. 

But let us touch upon more pleasing matters with respect to " the butterflies 
of vertebrated animals," as Mr. Swainson somewhat strangely denominates birds. 
Following up this idea, we presume it is suggested that birds with concealed crests, 
that can be shut or expanded at pleasure, use them as decoys for their insectivo- 
rous prey. As this is a new idea, and deserves investigation, we present Mr. 
Swainson's observations on the subject in his own words, and it will give an idea 
of his powers of reasoning : — 

" These crests are generally either of a bright yellow, red, or golden colour ; 
sometimes, though very rarely, white. If the feathers of the crown, which are 
not conspicuously elongated, are laid perfectly smooth, the crest does not appear, 
although its presence is sometimes indicated by a slight streak of the same colour. 
When the bird, however, is excited, the central feathers of the crown suddenly 
expand, radiate almost in a circle, and display what is often a most beautiful and 
striking ornament. The bright colours of the crest, in fact, are only at the roots 
of the feather, which are all tipt with the ordinary colour of the plumage ; so that 
when these are expanded they are no inapt representation of the opening petals of 



227 

a Marigold, or some beautiful little syngenesious jlower ; the predominant colour 
of that class, no less than of the crests that represent them, being different shades of 
yellow. Now, it is a circumstance no less singular than remarkable, in conjunc- 
tion with what we shall presently state, that of between fifty and sixty birds pos- 
sessing this sort of crest, every one is purely insectivorous, that is, living entirely 
upon insects, which are caught, not by hunting, but are seized only on their near 
approach. We have frequently had occasion to advert to the fact that all the 
tyrant flycatchers of Brazil never pursue their prey, or go out in search of it, by 
wandering about from tree to tree, like other birds. They take their station on a 
particular branch, and there patiently wait, like a Spider on its web, for such in- 
sects as come within range of a sudden dart. It is to this family of birds that 
the crests we have been describing are almost entirely restricted. We have fre- 
quently seen the Bentevi of Brazil, the most familiar as well as common species 
in that country, open and shut his fine yellow crest when merely occupied in 
watching for insects. This fact, joined with the considerations already mentioned, 
has more than once suggested to us the idea that these flower-like ornaments are 
occasionally used as snares to attract the attention of insects, so as to bring them 
within reach of being captured by a sudden dart." 

This is curious and interesting, but Mr. Swainson omits to state what might, 
perhaps, throw a greater light on the subject — the trees principally frequented by 
these flycatchers, and the colour of their flowers. We should know this before 
we positively decide that the insects mistake the gold-coloured crests for flowers, 
particularly as syngenesious flowers, to which the crests are compared, do not 
grow upon trees, nor do trees produce them. We had marked various interesting 
passages for quotation on the sight, tongue, feet, and voice of birds, strikingly 
illustrative of the harmony perceptible in every department of nature, and the as- 
sociation of one tribe of beings with another ; but as we may have another oppor- 
tunity to dilate on these subjects we proceed to notice the second division of Mr. 
Swainson's work, because suggestions arise there that we may not have a legiti- 
mate opportunity of remarking upon again. We would just mention, en passant, 
the observation that " the powers of voice are certainly greater in birds, when their 
size is considered, than in any other class of animals, or even in man. This fact 
is established by experience and by comparative anatomy : we know that the crow- 
ing of a Cock may be heard at a far greater distance than the shout of a man, even 
had he the lungs of a Stentor ; and it may be even questioned whether the same 
remark may not be applicable to the full and sonorous warbling of the Thrush." 

Mr. Swainson's remarks on the progress of ornithological science are very ju- 
dicious, and deserve the particular attention of the student. His observations on 
ornithological bibliography are also deserving of notice, though here, we conceive, 
he has fallen into an error. On the very point where information would have 
been desirable he fails to give it, merely remarking that, " in regard to European 

2g2 



228 

ornithology, it is needless to enumerate the very many works that have been pub- 
lished, in one shape or other, on the birds of the different kingdoms.'' It is true 
that he presents us with a long " list of the chief geographic ornithological works, 
arranged under the five zoological provinces," and intimates his wish to enumerate 
" such works only as are absolutely essential to an ornithological student, or are 
eminently beautiful in their execution." The " ornithological student," however, 
that Mr. Swainson has in his eye, must be some " Prince Maximilian" or the 
" Prince of Musignano ;" since none but princes are likely to obtain one quarter 
of the expensive works he has enumerated. We have no objection to know that, 
by an outlay of about three hundred and fifty pounds, we may possess some of the 
most splendid works on " illustrative ornithology ;" but this golden Tantalian cup 
may glance in the eyes of the poor student, but must glitter in vain. We think, 
therefore, that Mr. Swainson should have condescended to recommend a few 
standard works which any one could readily purchase for five or ten pounds. As 
he has not done so, we at once say that the beginner may be very well satisfied 
with Bewick's British Birds, Mudie's Birds, Bechstein's Cage Birds, Neville 
Wood's British Song Birds, and Selby's Illustrations of British Ornithology, 
if his pocket will allow, for the price of the latter is fourteen pounds : as the 
letter-press of Selby may, however, be had separately for a guinea, the plates may 
be dispensed with pro tempore. The first edition of Montagu's Ornithological 
Dictionary obtained if practicable, and certainly Mr. Swainson's publications in 
the Cabinet Cyclopaedia. Of course, The Naturalist will be examined each 
month, as it is indipensable for the student to possess a periodical on his favourite 
pursuit. Now this really is to the purpose ; and Temminck and Gould may follow 
when gold sufficient can be found ; but the Planches Enluminees (forty-eight 
pounds), Le Vaillant's Birds of Paradise, &c. (thirty-two pounds), and others, 
recommended by Mr. Swainson, seem to us out of the question, except for splen- 
did libraries. 

Mr. Swainson has entered at some length upon the " laws of nomenclature," 
with regard to birds. This subject, however, claims, and must have, distinct notice, 
which would be out of place here. Just, though severe, reproaches are thrown 
out against the " wholesale coinage of complimentary names which now begin to 
crowd every page of our catalogues, almost to the exclusion of those by which 
the species can, in some degree, be made known. Surely there are other ways of 
expressing our thanks or gratitude to those who assist our labours, than by this 
very cheap' mode of cancelling the obligation. This prostitution of what was once 
a scientific honour, but which is now within the reach of almost every one, how- 
ever ignorant of science, or merely following it as a trade." We have always 
thought that the crowd of names now proposed as carelessly as a " how-d'ye-do ?" 
must eventually be obliterated — common sense demands it ; for if " John Jones" 
is sent up into the air as a Kite under the name of Jonesii, what is to distinguish 



229 

some other " John Jones," who is fortunate enough to find another bird, and anx- 
iously emulates the flight of his namesake ? In fact, at the present moment, names 
occur in scientific nomenclature, which it is a disputed point whom they were in- 
tended to commemorate — like tombs from which the original occupiers have been 
expelled, to accommodate another race that in its turn has passed into obscurity 
and oblivion. The philosopher will be careless about transient distinctions, which 
will vainly attempt to confer eminence where it does not already exist. Mr. Swain- 
son is less happy in his objections to the reform in our ornithological vernacular 
nomenclature, which has been so vehemently insisted upon by several able writers 
in The Analyst. We shall not here touch upon a contest into which we have 
hitherto refrained to enter ; but we think when Mr. Swainson says that " the 
question has been discussed in some recent periodicals" surely with the word 
Analyst in his mouth, he might have suffered it to drop from his pen. This 
petty extinguishing system we shall always notice and reprobate, especially as Mr. 
Swainson takes abundant care to quote himself, not without acJcnoivledgement. 

We think the observations of Mr. Swainson at p. 274, on the fitting up of 
Museums, particularly well timed, and recommend them to the notice of the offi- 
cers of all the newly established Natural History Societies. This is an epoch in 
the scientific history of our country, and much depends upon the manner in which 
the arrangements will be made in the new Museums. The collections now mak- 
ing will be permanent or perishable, according to the plans now entered upon. At 
Shrewsbury, Worcester, Warwick, Nottingham, and other places, Museums of 
Natural History are forming, and their arrangement ought only to be entrusted 
to zealous, experienced, and competent persons. If opinionated conceit be suffered 
to prevail over zealous activity, hard-earned knowledge, and careful experience — if 
effect be preferred to taste, and utility sacrificed to variety, splendour and show 
may indeed triumph over science, but the tide-time having been irretrievably lost, 
posterity will have to re-commence a labour that might have been saved, 
amidst faded splendour, destroyed specimens, and broken relics. Looking at the 
past, and casting a wakeful eye into the future, we give this friendly warning to all, 
and refer them to Mr. Swainson's useful details for further information. 

The Naturalist's Library. — Ornithology. Conducted by Sir William Jardine, 
Bart., F.R.S.E., F.L.S., &c. Six vols, foolscap 8vo., illustrated with numer- 
ous coloured plates and wood-cuts. Edinburgh : W. H. Lizars. 1833 — 6. 

This is unquestionably the golden age of Natural History, and perhaps of 
ornithology more than of any other branch of it. We do not lose sight of the 
just and daily increasing claims of geology ; but, important and fascinating as that 
study is, eminent as are its indefatigable professors, and surprizing as are the pro- 
ductions of their unwearied exertions, we cannot feel positively assured of being 



230 

on safe ground; and the mist and obscurity is still so palpable that the assurances 
of the very best guides fail to convince us that the ground is not shaking around 
us, or that the hypothetical causeway we are trusting to may not in reality at last 
deposit us in some unfathomable gulf, instead of safely landing us on the " old" or 
" new red," as the case may be. Ornithology, on the other hand, has passed 
through its incubationary processes in safety ; we feel no doubt as to the science 
that stands arrayed before us in full plumage — we see the museum display to our 
charmed eyes the assiduous labours of collectors from every region of the globe 
— the feathered choristers of the groves are themselves in our view in the green 
wood — and volume after volume wings its flight, decorated by the pencil of the 
best artists, and illustrated by the commentaries of scientific research, to convey 
their histories and their economy before the whole world. 

But when we call this the golden age of ornithology we are not only referring 
to the magnificent productions of an Audubon or a Gould. Planches Enluminees 
and Birds of Paradise have long ago graced the libraries of the prince and the 
noble ; and it may be seen, on reference to the pages of Mr. Swainson in the 
Cabinet Cyclopaedia, how easily three hundred and fifty pounds might be laid out 
in illustrated works on ornithology recommended by that gentleman. But these 
are luxuries not to be thought of by the student, and perhaps regarded only with 
wishful eyes by many a practical naturalist. It remained for the present age to 
produce a series of illustrations alike correct in a scientific view, interesting as 
works of art, and, from their moderate price, within the reach of every member of 
the social community. This is exemplified in the beautiful work now before us. 

We shall now proceed to an examination of the Naturalist's Library seriatim. 
The two first volumes embrace the Trochilidce, or Humming Birds, with memoirs 
of Linneus and Pennant. The preceding account of the distribution and economy 
of this richly decorated tribe is extremely interesting. The delineations of the 
birds are, in general, very good, though the colouring seems to us, in many in- 
stances, dull, and inadequate to express the jewelled splendour of the originals. 
But we have in our eye the Humming Birds of Bullock as they once glittered in 
their effulgence before us, and more recently that magnificent case of Leadbetter's, 
on which the sun seldom shines, but the effect of which, when traversed by a beam 
of light, can rarely be paralleled. The third volume contains the Gallinaceous Birds, 
with a memoir of Aristotle. Here the artist is evidently more at home ; the 
colouring is improved, and the figures are seen to greater advantage before a 
freely-etched, picturesque, but uncoloured, background. Gallus Sonneratii 
(female), Phasianus torquatus, Phasianus veneratus, and Tragopan Hastingsii, 
are particularly good. The fourth volume contains the Game Birds, with a me- 
moir of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. A few of the plates seem rather coarse, 
but, on the other hand, the British Grouse are admirably delineated from the 
pencil of Selby himself. The fifth volume embraces the Pigeons, with a memoir 



231 

of Pliny. Here, somewhat unaccountably, the Turtle Dove is omitted. The 
sixth volume, the last as yet published, contains the natural history of the Psitta- 
cidte, or Parrots, and is undoubtedly altogether the best of the series, the figures 
being drawn by Lear, well known by his abilities as a zoological draughtsman, 
and the descriptions by P. J. Selby, Esq. 

The very sight of the Parrots, favourites of the cage in Europe, from their 
first introduction by the followers of Alexander, recall a hundred " pretty Polls" 
to our recollection, while the grating shrieks from the Parrot-room of the Zoologi- 
cal Gardens, still resounding in our ears, remind us that till they have borrowed a 
little of the vernacular idiom of mankind, though their plumage might vie with 
angels, that their voice, like that of the Peacock, can only be compared to a fiend's. 
As the power of imitating the intonations of the human voice, and even repeating 
long sentences so singularly developed by this family, is possessed by only a few 
other birds of the Sturnidce and Corvidce conirostres, we should have been 
pleased to have seen this curious subject more dilated upon, especially with regard 
to the construction of the tongue, and the wild habits of the birds. It is, however, 
merely cursorily alluded to. " The power of imitating the human voice, and learn- 
ing to articulate a variety of words and sentences, is not possessed by all the spe- 
cies, but is principally confined to the short and even-tailed Parrots, in which the 
tongue is large, broad, and fleshy at the tip." The subject is indeed again slightly 
brought forward in the History of the Ash-coloured Parrot, (Psittacus erytha- 
cus, Lin.) of which Mr. Lear has given a resemblance so faithful and accurate, 
that we can almost swear to the sly old rascal. As this bird is so well known, the 
following extract may be interesting : — " Many of our readers will recognise an old 
and amusing acquaintance in the characteristic figure of this well-known species ; 
not, indeed, conspicuous for that variety and brilliancy of plumage which distin- 
guishes the great majority of this tribe, but remarkable for its docility and mimicry, 
the faculty it possesses of imitating the human voice, as well as any other sound, 
its never ceasing garrulity, and its clear and distinct articulation. In most of these 
particulars it surpasses the rest of its congeners ; on which account it has always 
been held in high estimation by the bird-fancier and lover of living curiosities. 
This we learn from the large sums that have at all times been offered and given 
for highly-gifted or well-taught individuals. Even as early as A. d. 1500, we read 
of a Parrot at Rome, supposed to be of this species, for which 100 gold pieces were 
given by a Cardinal. Its merits, however, appear to have been of a kind well cal- 
culated at that period to create an unusual degree of astonishment, and a feeling 
of the marvellous, as it had learned to repeat with clearness, and without hesita- 
tion, the whole of the Apostles' creed. Willughby, also, in his old and excellent 
work on Ornithology, mentions the high prices brought by Parrots of various spe- 
cies in Holland, and other parts of the continent. To enumerate the various anec- 
dotes related of this bird, would not only occupy more space than the nature of our 



232 

work will allow, but would, in a great measure, be only repeating wbat has already 
so frequently been told in the works and compilations of other writers. We shall 
only observe, that in many of the marvellous stories recorded of Parrots, particu- 
larly all such as relate to answers seemingly appropriate and consequent to ques- 
tions put to them, and which some authors would almost seem to imply were dic- 
tated by intelligence, or that the birds really understood the import of what was 
asked, are merely the result, under accidental and fortunate circumstances, of what 
had previously been taught them by frequent repetition, to articulate by rote." 
—pp. 106—7. 

To the latter part of this dictum we cannot altogether subscribe, feeling confi- 
dent that in various instances, Parrots have " intelligence" enough to understand, 
if not the exact meaning of the words they utter, the subject to which they refer. 
We know an old lady, whose feet were so excessively tender, as almost to preclude 
her from walking, and hence she always went abroad in her Bath chair. She had 
a favourite Parrot, who when the tea equipage was placed upon the table, was in- 
variably taken out of his cage by the footman, and placed on the board, as a pro- 
per accompaniment to the antiquated china. Poll, no doubt an attentive observer, 
had long perceived there was " something rotten in the state of Denmark," and 
hence, whenever his mistress failed to dole out what he considered his fair ration, 
he would, in a threatening manner, exclaim — " Peclc your toes, Madam." As he 
sometimes flew down from his position to put this threat into execution, the old 
lady, to avoid the assault upon her toes, indulged him with a further allowance, 
which, of course, only led to increased insolence on his part, and the threat of 
" Peck your toes, Madam" was still oftener reiterated. At length, one day Poll 
having cried " Wolf," as he thought, without that attention being paid to the sub- 
ject which it demanded, proceeded to suit the action to the word with such effect, 
that the old lady was compelled to scream loudly for help ; Poll having adminis- 
tered a dose of toe-pecking that put her in dreadful pain for some days. This was 
too much to be borne, and the culprit received sentence of transportation. The 
footman was directed to sell or give him away, — and what afterwards became of 
of him, we never learned. Now, though in this case we think it highly probable, 
that the mischievous threat had been taught the bird by the servants, yet Poll 
must have seen the effect it produced in occasionally increasing his allowance, 
though, doubtless, he did not calculate upon the final denouement. But we must 
not allow old Grey-pate to detain our attention any longer. We have referred to 
his figure as admirably executed, and the singular crested Plyctolophus Leadbeateri, 
and the beautiful Platycercus palliceps, are also charmingly done. The back- 
ground landscapes are certainly a set-off to the picture ; and though omitted in the 
plates of the Pigeons, will, we trust, in future be adhered to. The vignettes to 
each volume are very tasteful — the last particularly so, representing the tri-colour 
crested and love Parrots, by Stewart. 



233 

On the whole, we cheerfully give the meed of approbation to this beautiful, 
scientific, and moderate-priced series of ornithological illustrations, and hope to be 
able to welcome it, as its future volumes appear, with undiminished favour, to its 
termination. Nevertheless, in some respects, we think there might be a little 
improvement. The manners and habits of the birds, when known, might be more 
enlarged upon than they now are, many being very short and meagre. Ample 
space might be found for this in the curtailment, if not entire omission, of the 
biographies. Raffles and Bewick, indeed, we might submit to, and the portrait 
and memoir of the latter prefixed to the Parrots is interesting. But then Bewick 
had nothing to do with Parrots ; and to have to wade through a hundred and 
twelve pages of a memoir of Aristotle, and eighty-two of Pliny, prefixed to ac- 
counts of the gallinaceous birds, is more than we could venture on ; we have not 
had pluck to attempt it, and our copies remain uncut on these particulars. In 
fact, this savours rather too much of the " make-weight" system, and in future 
we hope will rather be honoured in the " bi'each" than in the observance. This 
we conceive not to be the place for long biographies, especially those of the eyeless 
ancients, whom we know where to find if we want them ; though perhaps a pithy 
sketch of, and a look at, such bird-lovers (not fanciers) as Bewick, Wilson, or 
Audubon, is not to be objected to. We should, however, be sorry to say a word 
disparaging to so interesting and spirited an undertaking as this is, requiring, of 
course, an extensive sale to remunerate its projectors ; we only wish its useful and 
attractive powers to be developed to the utmost possible degree. 



EXTRACTS FROM FOREIGN SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS. 



Entomological. 

Abstract of Dr. Erichson's Systematic Distribution of the 
Bostrichidje, (Bark Beetles). 

(From Wiegmanris" Archivfiir Naturgeschichte" \stes.hefi, 1836.^ 

The Bostrichidce constitute a portion of Latreille's Xylophaga ; but as this 
group consists of very heterogeneous materials, they have less affinity with any 
other genus of that tribe than with the Curculios. Cis, however, from the struc- 
ture of its mouth, may be allied to the Bostrichidce, but from which it still widely 
differs by its tetramerous tarsi. The apparent affinity of Apate with the Bostri- 
vol. i. 2 H 



234 

chidce is deceptive, for although they are pentamcrous, yet the concealed joint is 
the first, and not, as in the Bostrichidx, the fourth. This is also the case in some 
genera of the Cleridae ; I, therefore, consider that the most natural situation of 
Apate is between this family and the Anobia, notwithstanding their resemblance to 
Bostrichus. This appears to be confirmed by the discovery by Professor Ratzeburg 
(who, as he has informed me, was long struck by the remarkable similarity of the 
holes bored by Apate and the Anobia) of the larva of Apate, which in contradistinc- 
tion to the footless larvae of the Bostrichi, very much resembles those of the 
Anobia. 

The Bostrichidx may be divided into three very natural groups, characterized 
by the proportions of the head and thorax. In the first, the thorax is generally 
narrowed anteriorly, and encompasses the posterior portion of the head, leaving, 
however, the greater portion of it free, and for the reception of which there is a 
more or less considerable concavity beneath in front of the anterior coxa?. The 
head is anteriorly elongated into a short thick rostrum. In the second group the 
globose head is wholly retractile within the thorax, which arches itself like a capu- 
chin over it, forming a deep emargination, beneath which, however, it is always 
even in the middle distinctly margined. The third group, lastly, which contains 
but one genus, has the thorax neither emarginate nor impressed beneath, and a 
free head frequently wider than the thorax. 

Group I. — Hylesines. 

Head exserted, the rostrum short, thick, and advanced. The antennae (ex- 
cepting Phloeotribus ) inserted at the sides of the rostrum. Thorax beneath ante- 
riorly emarginate, with an impression (often obsolete) for the reception of the head. 
The third joint of the tarsus generally emarginate or bilobate. 

Genus I. — Hylastes, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae seven -jointed; 
the knob four-jointed, orbiculate, compressed ; the tibiae externally denticulated. 
This genus contains, 1. Hylastes ater, Payk., which is the Hylesinus piniperda 
of Fabricius, as the type, with nine other species. But it is further separated into 
two divisions, viz. : — a. The mesosternum truncated anteriorly ; the third joint of 
the tarsus cordate, not dilatated : and b. The mesosternum conical and prominent ; 
the third joint of the tarsus dilatated and bilobate. 

Genus II. — Hylurgus, Latr. The funiculus of the antennae six-jointed, the 
club quadriannulate, subglobose ; the tibiae externally denticulated. The only 
known species is the H. ligniperda, Latr. 

Genus III. — Dendroctonus, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae five- 
jointed, the knob quadriannulate, suborbiculate and compressed. The tibiae exter- 
nally denticulated. The type of this is the Bostr. micans of Kugelan, frequently 
mistaken for the Hyles. ligniperda, Fab. ; besides which it contains, 2., Scol. 
terebrans, Oliv., 3., Dermestes piniperda, Lin., and two others. 



235 

Genus IV. — Phloeotrupes, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae six- 
jointed, the knob quadriannulate, orbiculate and compressed. The tibiae externally 
convex, muricate, and internally concave. This contains two Brazilian species, both 
new. 

Genus V. — Phloeoborus, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae six-jointed, 
the knob quadriannulate, oblong, acuminate. The tibiae compressed externally, 
denticulated. Contains three Brazilian species, all new. 

Genus VI. — Hylesinus, Fab. The funiculus of the antennae seven-jointed, 
the knob quadriannulate, oblong, acuminate. The apex of the tibiae compressed 
externally, denticulate. The type is the H. crenatus of Fabricius. 

Genus VII — Phloeotribus, Latr. The antennae inserted in the front of 
the face, the funiculus five-jointed, the clava trilamellate. The tibiae compressed, 
externally denticulated. The type and only known species is the P. Olece, Lat. 

Genus VIII Diamerus, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae six- 
jointed, the knob solid, suboval, compressed. The tibiae compressed, externally 
obsoletely denticulated. The only species known is the Hylesinus hispidus, 
Klug, from Madagascar. 

Genus IX. — Polygraph us, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae four- 
jointed, the knob solid, suboval, acuminate. The tibiae externallydenticulated. 
Comprising also but one species, the Hylesinus pubescens, Fab. 

Genus X. — Eccoptogoster, Herbst. The funiculus of the antennae six- 
jointed, the knob solid, compressed, suboval. The tibiae compressed, entire, with 
the apex uncinate. Here range 1. E. destructor, Oliv., which lives in the Birch ; 
2. E. scolytus, Herbst., which is destructive to Elms ;* 3. E. pygmceus, Fab. ; 

4. E. intricatus, Koch., which is the E. pygmceus of Gyllenhal : it lives in Oaks ; 

5. E. multistriatus, Marsham ; 6. E. minutus, Panz. 

Genus XL — Camptocerus, Lat. The funiculus of the antennae seven- 
jointed, the knob solid, compressed, suborbiculate. The tibiae entire, their apex 
uncinate. The species of this genus are confined to South America, and consist 
of the following, described by Fabricius : — 1. Hylesinus asneipennis ; 2. Hyl.fas- 
ciatus ; 3. Hyl. gibbus ; 4. Hyl. suturalis ; 5. Hyl. niger. 

* Some mistake appears to exist with regard to the species so destructive to the Elms 
in the vicinity of the metropolis, which must be this, and not the E. destructor, as supposed 
by our entomologists. The insect is committing ravages to a great extent, and unless 
some timely check be devised, it is to be feared that, in the course of a few years, not a 
single Elm will exist near London. The remedy already suggested is, that trees which 
are found to be infected should be immediately cut down and barked ; and it is supposed 
to be erroneous that only diseased trees are attacked : further observation has shewn that 
it is the male which prepares the tree for the reception of the female by boring holes in 
the bark. It has been supposed that the mortality occasioned in these trees was owing to 
their striking the root into the blue London clay, and thus becoming poisoned ; but that 

this is incorrect is proved by young as well as old trees being subject to the calamity Ed. 

2h2 



236 
Group II. — True Bostrichi. 

The head globose, retractile within the thorax. The antennae inserted at the 
sides of the head, between the base of the mandibles and the eyes. The thorax 
produced anteriorly above the head. The anterior coxae always approximate. 
All the joints of the tarsi simple. 

Genus XII. — Xyloterus, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae four- 
jointed, the knob solid, the labium parallelopiped. Here belong the 1. Bermestes 
domesticus, Lin. ; 2. Bostr. lineatus, Oliv. ; 3. Bostr. 5. lineatus, Adams, 
Ann. de la Soc. Imp. des Natur. de Moscou. 

Genus XIII. — Crypturgus, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae two- 
jointed, the knob solid, the labium parallelopiped. The two following species are 
widely dispersed: — 1. Bostr. cinereus, Herbst. ; 2. Bostr. pusillus, Gyllenhal. 

Genus XIV. — Hypothenemus, Westwood. The funiculus of the antennae 
three-jointed, the knob obsoletely annulated, the labium slightly narrowed towards 
the base. The only species known is the H. eruditus, West., Trans, of the En- 
tom. Soc. of London, part i., page 34, plate 7, figure 1. The author remarks 
that there is evidently some mistake in the figure of the ligula, for it does not 
exist in any of the Bostrichidee, as figured by Mr. Westwood. 

Genus XV. — Cryphalus, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae four- 
jointed, the knob four-jointed, the labium oblong, scarcely narrowed towards the 
base. The Apate Tilice and Apate Fagi of Fabricius come here, as also the Bos- 
trichus asperatus of Gyllenhal. 

Genus XVI. — Hypoborus, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae five- 
jointed, the knob quadriannulate, the labium subovate. A small species common 
in the south of France and Portugal, and indicated as Bostr. fici by Dejean, forms 
the type of this genus, by the name of H.ficus : it is three quarters of a line long. 

Genus XVII. — Bostrichus, Fab. The funiculus of the antennae five- 
jointed, the knob quadriannulate and tunicate, the labium triangular. The 
type of this genus, which is very rich in species, is the Dermestes typographus of 
Linne. Very few exotic species are known, but the very wide dispersion of some 
is remarkable, for instance, the Bostr. ferrugineus, Fab., is found in all parts of 
America, as well as in Madagascar. 

Genus XVIII. — Amphicranus, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae 
two-jointed, the knob sub-solid, the labium triangular. The only known and 
beautiful species is a native of Brazil ; a solitary specimen of it is in the Berlin 
Royal Museum ; its specific character is A. thoracicus. Niger, nitidus, capite 
thoraceque sanguineis, elytris subtiliter punctatis, apice oblique truncatis, uni- 
dentatis — length, three and a half lines. 

Genus XIX. — Corthylus, Erichs. The funiculus of the antennae one- 
jointed, the knob quadriannulate, the labium triangular. Here come 1. Bostr. 
compressicornis, Fab., 2. Bostr. fasciatus, Say. 



237 
Group III. — Platypus, Hbt. 

Head exserted ; thorax cylindrical, impressed laterally for the reception of the 
legs ; the tibiae short, the anterior externally convex, transversely porcate ; the tarsi 
slender, the first joint very long. The genus Platypus is the only one belonging 
to this group, and is widely distributed over almost the whole earth. The differ- 
ence of the sexes is frequently striking. The male is generally to be distin- 
guished by the larger size of the first joint of the antennae, and the female by 
the dentate apex of the elytra. 

We purpose in our next number giving an abstract of Mannerheim's paper on 
the Staphylinidce, which, from its not being generally accessible to the English 
entomologist, may proveacceptable. 



Botanical. 

Edible Fucus. — The Philippines yield a great proportion of the large quan- 
tities of edible bird's nests which are consumed in China, as well as now also in 
Europe. At present, we will merely draw attention to the edible sea-plants found 
upon the coasts of the Philippine islands, as well as upon those of the Bashees, the 
islands of the empire of Japan, the Moluccas, &c, and which serve both as arti- 
cles of export and food. In the markets of Macao and Canton large chests of 
this dried fucus are to be found, imported from Japan. The species which sup- 
ports this branch of commerce is the Sphmrococcus cartilagineus, var. cetaceus, 
Ag., which is extremely abundant in India, and which, eaten by the Salangane 
( Hirundo (Cypselus) esculenta, Lin.), is thence used for the construction of 
her nest ; for the substance, which has become a jelly in her stomach, is rejected, 
and with this she forms her nest. These celebrated Indian bird's nests, which, in 
their original state, are soiled with feathers and dirt, are conveyed to China, where 
there are large establishments for the purpose of cleansing them, for which parti- 
cular instruments are employed ; and yet they are scarcely ought else than the 
relaxed Sphcerococcus cartilagineus. In their preparation, however, such a 
variety of condiments are used that they may justly claim a high rank amongst 
the epicurean dishes of the Chinese. The Japanese have long been acquainted 
with this plant, and artificially prepare the substance of the nests. The fucus, after 
being previously powdered, is boiled into a thick jelly, which they then pour out 
in long strings like Macaroni, and which is known in commerce as Dschinschan, 
called by the Dutch Ager-ager. The Chinese eat the bird's nests, both the real 
and the artificial, as sauce to their meat. The Europeans resident in China prefer 
them prepared in the shape of a jelly, and to which the Dschinschan is excellently 
adapted ; for one boiling is sufficient to transform the dried substance into a jelly, 



238 

which is then made palatable with wine or the juices of fruits. The dried Dschin- 
schan can also be cut into small pieces and thrown into hot soup, where, in the 
space of a minute, it dissolves, and thus resembles transparent Macaroni. 

We have enlarged upon this subject because latterly much has been said about 
the Carraghean, which is nothing else than the dried Sphazrococcus crispus, 
which is found in large quantities on the western and northern shores of England, 
and which, doubtless, possesses the same qualities as the Sphcerococcus cartilagi- 
neus, var. cetaceus. We can, however, by no means imagine that the jelly ob- 
tained from it possesses any other but a highly nutritive quality, which is, at the 
same time, not at all oppressive to the digestive organs. — Meyen, in Wieg- 
mann's Archiv. 

Paraguay Tea. — Rengger, in his Travels in Paraguay, confirms the 
statement of Aug. St. Hilaire, that the Tea of Paragua and the Paraguay Tea are 
the produce of one and the same plant. The differences of taste are caused by 
the modes of preparation and preservation. The plant which produces it is the 
Hex Paraguariensis of St. Hilaire ; it resembles the Pomegranate tree in form 
and in the shape of its leaves, yet, when full grown, it is considerably larger and 
thicker. The elliptical leaves are directed upwards, and its small white blossoms 
hang in bunches. The smaller twigs are cut off and baked over a slow fire, and 
then broken up by stamping, that the tea may be more closely compressed ; it is 
then packed in square leathern bags, which are called zurrones or tercios, and 
containing eight arrobas. The finest kind of Paraguay Tea consists exclusively 
of the leaves of the tree, which, after being roasted, are coarsely pounded in a 
wooden mortar, and is called Caa mini. The common sort, which, besides the 
leaves, contains also the smaller twigs, is called hierba de palos ; and there are 
several surreptitious or mixed kinds. This tea, which is usually called hierba in 
Spanish, must be only coarsely powdered, else it loses both smell and taste, and 
the mouth, in drinking it, is filled with the dust. Nor must it be over-roasted, 
on account of the resin it contains ; and the dealers have a ready test for this by 
taking a little in their hands and slightly blowing it, when, if the greater quantity 
flies off, they condemn it. This tea loses its flavour in a couple of years, even if 
the tercios be compressed as hard as stones, but where exposed to the air this natu- 
rally takes place much earlier. When it becomes old and strong it can only be 
used as a colouring matter for dying black tints. This hierba, or tea, passed cur- 
rent formerly in Paraguay as money, and its commerce consequently was but a 
system of barter. 

Thea communis. — The discovery of the tea plant in Upper Assam promises 
to become of considerable importance to British commerce. That it was cultivated 
in Ava, the Birman Empire, as well as the eastern frontiers of Thibet, has been 



239 



long* known, but its existence in Upper Assam, within the dominions of the East 
India Company, and spread over a district of hundreds of miles, gives promise of 
its being cultivated upon an extensive scale : indeed, extensive plantations have 
been already formed in the mountains of Camun in Sirmare, and Gurwhal between 
the upper Jumna and the Ganges. 



Zoological. 

Crustacea. — We find that Mr. J. F. Brandt has published at Moscow, a 
Conspectus Monographic Crustaceorum Oniscidorum. He divides them into 
two tribes, the Ligies and the Oniscinees. The first tribe forms two genera, 
Ligia and Ligidium. The second tribe is separated into two sections, the Por- 
cellione.es and the Armadillins. The first are divided into Hexarthrica, contain- 
ing the genera Trichoniscus, and Platyarthrus, and Schizarihrica, containing the 
genera Porcellio, Oniscus, and Philoscia. The second section of the Oniscinees, 
viz., the Armadillins are divided into the Armadillidies and the Cubarides. The 
first contains only the genus Armadillidium. The second are again subdivided 
into Monoexocha, containing the genera Cubaris and Armadillo, and the second 
subdivision, the Diplorexocha, contains the single genus Diplorexochus. — Her- 
mes. 

The Gossamer. — A pupil of the Academy at Metz has written to the Aca- 
demy of Sciences, stating that he has detected that the film which floats so abun- 
dantly in the air on fine days in the Autumn, is produced by Spiders. M. Coulier, 
however, says that he has discovered that they are produced by an Acarus describ- 
ed by Geoffroy, and that, besides, the remains of this creature are ordinarily found 
attached to these white and tenacious filaments. Latreille constructed the genus 
Gamasus of this Acarus, and in fact it is frequently found spreading wide tissues 
over trees, but it can scarcely be supposed that these filaments are exclusively pro- 
duced by the Acarus. Ray, Lister, and the majority of English Entomologists, 
since their time, ascribe it to a Spider, whose proceedings have been often watched. 



Geological. 

Amber. — M. Aycke,* who for many years has farmed the collecting of Am- 
ber in Prussia, and who consequently has had the opportunity of inspecting it in 
large quantities, conveys much interesting information upon the subject, in the 

* Fragmenlv Zitr Naturgeschichte des Bernstein a, Danzig, 1835, 8vo. 



240 

work noticed below, whence we abstract the following' account. — The opinion now 
generally entertained is that Amber is a fossil resin, and that the trees which pro- 
duced it were coniferous, and belonged to extinct species of the genus Plnus. M. 
Aycke observes that Amber, as found in its native beds, has evidently been depo- 
sited by violent causes, floods, &c. The best proof of which is produced both in 
the manner in which the Amber is deposited, as also in the pieces of rubbed wood 
found intermixed with it, and which are mfcre or less transformed into carbon. 
The lumps of wood usually found in the vicinity of Amber, all belong to the Coni- 

ferce, and Mr. Aycke has even discovered some in which the Amber was still to be 
found lying between the concentric yearly layers, and which were thereby forcibly 
separated from each other. In the summer of 1835, a small deposit of Am- 
ber was found a few feet beneath the surface, in the Thiergarten at Berlin ; but 
there it was deposited in a pure sand, and the pieces were not of an uniform colour. 
Some pieces of wood which were found with the Amber, M. Meyen had the oppor- 
tunity to examine, and the results were, that the microscope distinctly showed that 
the large pieces of wood transformed into carbon, evidently belonged to the genus 
Pinus. A smaller piece, almost entirely carbonized, is rubbed into a nearly glo- 
bular shape on one side, and a third piece, two inches and a half long, appears to 
be the scale of a Pine-apple of very considerable dimensions. Besides these pieces 
of strongly carbonized wood, a small piece was found in a very excellent state of 
preservation, belonging to some amentaceous tree, but extremely diflicult to de- 
termine of what genus. Near Brandenburg, a deposit of Amber has, also, been 
found, which appears to yield large pieces in considerable quantities. M. Aycke 
gives us very precise information upon the discovery of Amber in connection with 
roots, which might easily mislead to the supposition that this Amber had been 
secreted by their encompassing and enclosing fibres. He notes his asto- 
nishment at finding these roots in their natural upright position with their fibres 
directed downwards, still fresh and flexible as when living, and that there was not 
the least trace of carbonization to be found in them ; but in the strata above 
there were no stems or larger ramifications of these roots ; and indeed roots are but 
seldom found therein of the thickness of a quill, for they generally consist of fasci- 

. culated fibres forcibly rent asunder, and which, as in the Conifer oe, branch off in the 
finest and most delicate ramifications. These fibres of roots, not only encompass 
considerable pieces of Amber, but frequently their capillary ramifications hang 
firmly attached to them. M. Aycke observed that these roots do not, by any 
means, belong to the Coniferce ; and M. Meyen, by the kindness of Alex. V. 
Humboldt, obtained some for examination, and microscopic investigation proved 
that they were dicotyledonous. It was not possible to detect that they had secreted 
the Amber ; but the very opposite opinion is entertained by M. Meyen. — Wieg- 
mann's Archiv. 



W ,1ft • .;i^^/-j 





♦ ♦ * 



t t 

• •■■■•« 





ORIOLUS GALBULA. 

FAMILY. DENTIROSTRES. GENUS. ORIOLUS. 



THE GOLDEN ORIOLE. 



By William Mac Gillivray, A.M., F.R.S.E., M.W.S., &c. 

The Golden Oriole, which by Temminck is classed among the omnivorous 
birds, and by Cuvier is referred to the Dentirostral Family of the Order Passeres 
or Insessores, belongs to a genus formerly of great extent, but by modern ornitho- 
logists reduced to a small group, of which the species present the following cha- 
racters : — 

Bill rather long, stout, nearly straight, rather broad at the base, compressed. 
Upper mandible having the dorsal outline slightly arched, the ridge narrow, the 
sides flat and sloping at the base, slightly convex and more inclined towards the 
end, the edges sharp, with a slight notch close to the small, slightly deflected tip. 
Lower mandible with the angle moderately long and narrow, the sides nearly 
erect, the edges sharp, the dorsal outline nearly straight. Mouth of moderate 
width. Tongue slender, emarginate and papillate at the base, thin and horny 
toward the tip, which is bifid. Nostrils oblong, bare in the anterior part of the 
large nasal membrane, which is feathered. Eyes of moderate size ; eyelids 
feathered. 

Head oblong, moderately large, the forehead slightly rounded. Neck rather 
short. Body ovate, compact. Legs rather strong, short : tarsus short, com- 
pressed, covered anteriorly with seven large scutella, posteriorly with two plates 
united at a very acute angle, and several transverse rugae below. Toes of mo- 
derate size, covered above with a few large scutella, papillate beneath ; the first 
stout, of about the same length as the second ; the fourth a little longer, and 
united at the base to the third, which is considerably longer. Claws of moderate 
length, arched, compressed, laterally grooved, acute ; that of the hind toe much 
stronger. 

Plumage generally blended, the feathers oblong and rounded. Short bristles 
at the base of the bill. Wings rather long, of seventeen quills ; first primary 
very short, being scarcely more than a third of the length of the third, which is 
longest ; second shorter than fourth ; secondaries of moderate length, broad, and 
rounded. Tail rather long, straight, slightly rounded, of twelve rather broad, 
rounded feathers. 

2i 



242 

In the systems of Linneus and Latham the genus Oriolus was composed of a 
number of species having very little affinity to each other, having been placed toge- 
ther, as it would seem, more on account of a kind of agreement in the colours of 
their plumage than from a similarity in the form of the bill, or in their habits. 
The genus thus constituted has, however, been broken up by Daudin, Vieillot, and 
others, into several genera, so that at present it contains only those species, all 
belonging to the old continent, which bear a strong resemblance in form to the 
Golden Oriole. 

This beautiful bird is about the size of the Blackbird ( Turdus merulaj, 
which it also resembles in form, although its tail and feet are considerably shorter, 
and its wings proportionally longer. Indeed, its resemblance to many of the 
Thrushes is such that several authors have named it the Golden Thrush. It is 
very intimately allied to two or three Indian and Chinese species, which resemble 
it, not only in form, but also in colour, although characteristic differences are 
apparent. As it agrees in every particular with the generic character given above, 
it is unnecessary, in describing it, to repeat the details already presented. 

The male has the plumage blended, the feathers being oblong, with disunited 
barbs, those on the fore part of the head short. The wings, when closed, reach 
to within an inch of the end of the tail, which is nearly even at the end. The 
bill is of a light brownish-red colour ; the iris, according to Temminck and Mon- 
tagu, red ; the feet blueish-grey ; the claws of the same colour as the bill. The 
plumage is generally of a rich and pure gold colour. Between the bill and the 
eye is an oblong black spot or band. The wings are black, but the smaller 
coverts are yellow, as are the margins of the wing, the tips of the primary coverts, 
and the tips of all the quills, except the two outer ; while the external margins of 
the quills are yellowish-white, those of the two outer excepted. The two middle 
tail-feathers are greenish-yellow at the base, brownish -black in the rest of their 
extent, except the extreme tips, which are yellow ; all the rest are black, with the 
extremities bright yellow, the space of that colour gradually enlarging on the 
outer feathers. 

Length to end of tail 91 inches ; wing from flexure 6 and 2-12ths ; tail 3 
and 3-12ths ; bill along the ridge 1 and 1-1 2th, along the edge of the lower man- 
dible 1 and 3-12ths ; tarsus 1 ; first toe & its claw 5-12ths ; second toe ^, its 
claw 3i-12ths; third toe 9-12ths, its claw 5-12ths ; fourth toe 8-12ths, its claw 
4-12ths. 

The female is somewhat less than the male. The bill and feet are similarly 
coloured. The plumage of the upper parts is yellowish-green, the forehead 
lighter, and the upper tail-coverts greenish-yellow. The fore part of the neck is 
pale greenish-grey, its sides greenish-yellow ; the breast white, the sides and lower 
tail-coverts yellow ; the throat marked with longitudinal pale-brown lines, the 
breast with larger lines of a brownish-black tint. The wings are brown, their 



243 

edge greenish-yellow ; the tips of the quills, excepting the outer, and the primary 
coverts, pale-yellow. The tail is dark brown, the terminal yellow spot on the 
feathers of much less extent than in the male. 

Length to end of tail 9 and 2-12ths ; wing from flexure 6 ; tail 3 and 3-12ths; 
bill 1 and l-12th. 

The young, in its first plumage, is of a dusky yellowish-grey tint above, each 
feather having the central part greyish-brown ; the lower parts yellowish-white, 
each feather with a central brown line ; the sides and lower tail-coverts bright 
yellow ; the wings and tail brown, marked with yellow as in the adult. The male 
is easily distinguished from the female by its lighter colour. 

The species most nearly allied to the Golden Oriole ( Oriolus galbula) are 
the Yellow Oriole ( O. aureus J, the Chinese Oriole ( O. ChinensisJ, and the 
Blackheaded Oriole ( O. melanocephalus ) . Whether the first of these be really 
distinct I can scarcely venture to affirm. It is somewhat smaller, its wings are 
proportionally shorter, its bill larger, but the colouring is precisely similar, only there 
is a small black spot behind the eye, in addition to the black local space of the 
Common or Golden Oriole. 

This latter — the only species of the genus that is ever seen in Europe — arrives 
in France and Italy toward the end of April. It is not uncommon in many parts 
of Germany, but is rare in the northern countries, and in England is not a regular 
visitant, a few individuals only having been seen there at long intervals ; so that 
with us it ranks merely as an accidental straggler. It is said to prefer low, 
wooded districts, and to resort chiefly to the margins of forests, residing among 
the lower branches of the large trees, or in the thickets. Its food consists chiefly 
of insects and larvae, but as the season advances it feeds also on berries, and occa- 
sionally visits the gardens and orchards, where it manifests a partiality to cherries. 

Its nest is described by authors as of an oblong form, shaped like a purse, hav- 
ing its aperture above, and suspended from a forked branch, some say at the top, 
others at the lower part of a tree. It is composed externally of long straws neatly 
interwoven, internally of mosses and lichens, with a lining of grass, and sometimes 
wool. The eggs are four or five, of a regular oval form, smooth, white, with a 
few brownish-black spots, sometimes intermixed with paler markings. The young 
continue writh their parents after they come abroad, and the families do not unite 
at the period of their departure, which takes place about the end of August. 

The young are said to be difficult to rear, and not to thrive in captivity, other- 
wise, creatures so beautiful would, no doubt, be great favourites as cage birds, 
although their natural notes are loud and shrill, and their song deficient in melody. 

I have not met with any account of the digestive organs of this species, nor, 
indeed, with any tolerable description of its manners. Judging from its external 
appearance, its organization is probably similar to that of the Thrushes, which 
have a narrow oesophagus, a rather powerful gizzard; lined with a horny rugous 

2i2 



244 

membrane, and an intestine of moderate length, with very small coecal appendages. 
The form of the -wings and tail shews that the flight must be powerful and sus- 
tained, similar to that of the Redwing and the Fieldfare ; and the feet, although 
fitted for hopping on the ground as well as for gliding among branches, are, per- 
haps, better adapted for the latter purpose. 

Although the Golden Oriole has occurred in several counties in England, and 
in a few instances in Ireland, no authentic case of its occurrence in Scotland has 
been recorded, at least to my knowledge. The birds in the museum of the Uni- 
versity of Edinburgh, mentioned by Mr. Selby as having furnished subjects for 
his drawings, and as having been shot on the Pentland Hills, were brought from 
France by the late Mr. Wilson, janitor to that university. 



REMINISCENCES OF THE RHINE; 

ORNITHOLOGICAL AND ENTOMOLOGICAL. 
( Concluded from page 207 > 

Cerambyx Textor. — With its long horns, scrambling and out-stretched legs, 
large size, and dark-black colour, the uninitiated observer would start with disgust, 
exclaiming, " what a frightful creature !" if an Entomologist exultingly presented 
him with this fine insect. And so it is, to those who judge of these and 
some other similar tenantry of the insect world, under the weight of early associa- 
tions or prejudices : but to the Entomologist, its apparent deformities assume a 
different aspect ; and in each limb, articulation, and joint, and specific character, 
clearly and strongly developed as they are, he pronounces it to be one of the most 
attractive specimens of insect perfection. With such feelings I welcomed the slow 
march and dignified attitude of one of these fine Cerambyces emerging from the 
sod on the side of a pathway near Aix-la-Chapelle. I secured him, as well as cir- 
cumstances would permit, in folds of paper, but in the course of the following night 
he escaped to undergo, doubtless, the melancholy fate of being disposed of like a 
common Black Beetle by the thoughtless chambermaid, who might find him pe- 
rambulating my bed-room floor next morning. 

Green Locust ( Gryllus viridissimaj. — I found only one specimen of this 
conspicuous insect, on the stem of a Willow, near Strasbourg. I confined it in a 
tin box with two or three other insects, one of which was a Carabris of some 
size ; when, to my astonishment, on opening the box on the following day, I found 



245 

only the locust, who had devoured the whole of his companions, with the excep- 
tion of a few tarsi and remnants of limbs and antennae. This is not the first in- 
stance I have known of the voracious appetite and extraordinary ventral capacity 
of these insects, which are usually supposed to live only on vegetable food. 

Lygceus apterus. — One of the wingless bug family, a pretty attractive insect, 
with its party-coloured elytra, black and red. On the gravelly esplanade before 
alluded to at Carlsruhe they actually swarmed ; hundreds and thousands were in 
rapid motion, particularly on those parts which were fresh turned up by the 
rakes or scufflers. 

In addition to the above, to which, I believe, I have affixed correct appellatives, 
some others were taken which I can only refer to generally. In the forests of 
Germany, one species of the genus Scaritidce — formerly, in the simpler days of 
entomological science, known and classed with the Carabidce, or Beetle tribe — 
was not uncommon. A stout, well-conditioned Beetle, about an inch long, with 
globular, projecting eyes, broad thorax, on which the head seemed to be indented 
or inlaid without any intermediary cervicular process, with bony jaws fitted for all 
purposes of laceration of food or personal defence. I never met with one of these 
stout little fellows fearlessly preparing for resistance when under the restraint of 
an entomological finger and thumb, without comparing them with those squab, 
short-bodied, square-built, broad-shouldered, hard-featured, immoveable-eyed sort 
of people, of the genus humanus, so common in the world. I feel confident that 
your readers will recall, in a moment, a dozen such to their recollection ; men 
full of health and vigour, of iron muscle and nerve, ready and willing to fight 
their way through the world unaffected by times or circumstances under which 
more pliant characters would quail ; men who, if they shook you by the hand, 
would make every joint crackle under their hearty grasp, and who, if invited to 
dinner, would swallow an entire first course, without fear of indigestion or incon- 
venience. 

It may not be irrelevant to insert, in an article on entomological notices, some 
information respecting the destructive powers of those minute insects, the Bostri- 
cidce, on the forests of Germany, received from M. Warnkynck, a very intelligent 
Inspecteur des Chasses, resident at Klorter, near Rippoldsau, in the middle of the 
Black Forest. On looking over his collection, he pointed out the following as 
most injurious : — 



Stephens' Catalogue, p. 148, linearis 9 Most destructive of all. 
ditto 145 Very bad. 

ditto 144 

ditto 145 

On the White Pines. 
Found near Carlsruhe. On the Finns sylvestris. 



Bostrichus Uneatus. 


B. 


typograpkicus. 


B. 


villosus. 


B. 


calcographicus 
or laricis. 


B. 


curiaderis. 


B. 


pinaslri. 



246 



With one other reference I shall conclude, and perhaps I could not select a 
more appropriate one, recalling as it does the closing in of those delightful conti- 
nental evenings when, after the setting of a sun in glory and splendour unknown 
in our hazy and turbid atmosphere, the dews have fallen and left the world in 
darkness, the still air glowing with radiant warmth unaccompanied with damps 
and chills, rendering it so treacherous a temptation for enjoyment in less fa- 
voured climates. I allude to the Fire Flies (Lampyris Italica ?), which, avail- 
ing themselves of this sweet time of night, now light their phosphorescent lamps 
and flit before the traveller like twinkling stars. There is something mysterious 
and unearthly in their silent flight ; slowly sailing in suitable harmony with the 
quiescence of the time of night, bursting into brilliancy, as it were, from vacancy, 
and then as suddenly vanishing into nothingness. Not an evening passed after 
a sultry day in the districts of the Upper Rhine, from Briihl and Andernach up 
to Baden, when these lovely, ghost-like insects might not be seen. The Germans 
call them by a name implying the lamp of the dead, and a more appropriate one 
could not be applied ; for we might well conceive that, if the spirits of departed 
beings were allowed to revisit this nether world, they would gleam and flit before 
us with that gliding, solemn, silent motion, peculiar to the Fire Flies of Germany. 

E. S. 



NOTES ON THE MONTHS. 
January. 



" There 's beauty all around our paths, if but our watchful eyes 
Can trace it 'midst familiar things and through their lowly guise ; 
We may find it in the winter boughs as they cross the cold blue sky, 
While soft on icy pool and stream their pencilled shadows lie ; 
When we look upon their tracery by the fairy frost-work bound ; 
When the flitting Redbreast shakes a shower of crystals to the ground." 

Mrs. He mans. 



The observation of the natural appearances of the year during each of its 
revolving months, is an occupation suited to every rank and age, and is productive 
of the purest and most exquisite enjoyment of mind, as well as of the most salu- 
tary influence upon the body. Yet this source of gratification and improvement 



247 

is too generally neglected, either from a wrong bias being early given to the mind, 
or from other defects of education. Scarcely has the infant mind begun to look 
abroad and survey the face of nature, ere his seniors turn the attention of the 
youthful inquirer to man's productions and his occupations, and bestow upon him 
only such an education as will fit him to follow in the path themselves have trod. 
Now, while we aim at rendering the mind of youth a rich store-house of whatever 
is most excellent among the productions of human genius, we should likewise aim 
at making it a mirror fitted to reflect whatever is most lovely in nature. For this 
purpose a careful examination of the processes of nature throughout the different 
seasons of the year should enter into our general systems of education. In 
January the suitableness of the arrangements adopted both by the animal and ve- 
getable kingdom to the existing conditions of the atmosphere might be pointed out. 

The earth itself undergoes a temporary but extensive change on its surface, 
the colour of which, at other times, is either green or brownish-black — a colour 
much more favourable to the escape of the heat which the earth had received 
from the suns of the preceding summer than white. The great humidity of the 
air, also, in December and January, contributes to abstract much of the heat from 
the earth, which is hindered from receiving any from the now distant sun by the 
foggy state of the atmosphere. The retention of the remaining heat is, therefore, 
a most desirable object ; to effect which, so soon as the temperature falls below 
a certain given point, the surface of the earth has its colour changed to white, by 
which the radiating power is greatly altered and reduced. In the northern parts 
of Britain, the colour of the fur of the Hare and the plumage of the Ptarmigan 
become white, for a similar reason. The fur of those animals which cannot 
change their colour becomes finer and thicker, which then serves better to guard 
them against the cold. This renders the furs of animals of northern countries 
more suitable as a protection for man when they have been killed in winter. 

A certain temperature is necessary for vegetables to retain their vital princi- 
ple ; hence those which are of a large size, such as shrubs and trees, which do not 
die down to the ground like herbaceous plants, become coated with hoar-frost ; so 
that their surface is universally rendered white, and their internal warmth retained, 
by the same means, and for the same reason, as that of the earth. The winter 
landscape is, therefore, not without its attractions, either that of novelty, arising 
from the suddenness with which the change above mentioned takes place, or of the 
more enduring feeling of interest which will spring from an inquiry into the causes 
and objects of these changes. A walk in dry, frosty weather, when suitable cloth- 
ing is worn, is at once healthful and pleasant, and may be rendered productive of 
lasting happiness and enjoyment, by having the attention directed to the numerous 
proofs, with which every situation and season abounds, of the continued operation 
of those nicely-balanced laws which had their origin and have their maintenance 
in the mind and will of the Great Architect of the Universe. 



DISPERSION OF PLANTS. 

[From a Correspondent]. 

From a memoir read to the Botanical Society of London on Thursday, the 
17 th of November, on Local Botany, it appears that two-thirds of the British spe- 
cies grow within about twenty-five miles of the metropolis ; also that five-sixths 
of the British genera and nine-tenths of the British natural orders are found 
within these bounds ; that the greater part of the British plants are to be found 
in the continental floras of Europe ; that upwards of 300 grow in the United 
States of America ; that the flora of a part of Hindostan, by Wight and Arnott, 
containing about 2800 species, comprises not more than 30 British species ; and 
among the 6000 plants of tropical America there is not one dicotyledonous species, 
and only a very few monocotyledonous species. It appears that the genera com- 
mon to this country and the Indian flora above cited are 120, being four times 
the amount of common species ; and that the genera common to England and the 
equinoctial flora of America are 270. The author farther states that one-half 
the British species, and above two-thirds of the British genera, grow in any parish 
of moderate extent ; also that he collected, classified, and described 670 vascular 
species growing on Hampstead Heath and in the woods and fields adjoining; that 
latterly he has gathered about 900 species of the same kind (vascular) within 
twelve miles of Croydon, and has reason to believe that many more exist in that 
district. 

Dr. Murray, an acute observer and excellent botanist, author of a valuable 
work on the wild plants of the north and east of Scotland, entitled The Northern 
Flora, some years ago published in Jameson's Philosophical Journal, a paper, 
in which he states that " a great proportion of Scottish plants are found in the 
Valley of Alford ;" and, again, that " the mass of Scottish species grow in the 
environs of Paris." It farther appears that the extent of Great Britain, from the 
Channel Islands to the extremity of the Mainland in Shetland, is equal to the 
extent of that part of continental Europe from the Gulf of Venice to the 
north end of the Peninsula of Jutland ; but the number of species in these parts 
of Europe is more than double the number found in Great Britain and Ireland, 
although the average temperature of this country is about equal to that of Mid 
Europe ; and, with the exception of Switzerland and part of Hungary, the range 
of elevation is greater : from which it would seem that the comparative deficiency 
of species here is, in some degree at least, to be attributed to our insular 
situation. 



NOTICES OF THE CAPTURES OF INSECTS; 

WITH CURSORY OBSERVATIONS THEREON. 

By J. C. Dale, Esq. 
I Continued from page 13. J 

Coleoptera. — Carabus auratus. — Two specimens of this fine and rare 
insect were taken at the same time with the C. intricatus, by Mr. Bluett, of 
Taunton, (to whom I am indebted for a specimen), at Shobroke, between Credi- 
ton and Exeter. 

Omaloplia ruricola. — I have taken another specimen of this insect at Lul- 
worth, this year, as well as the variety called varia, which is nearly black. 

Anomala Frishii. — I formerly took this insect in abundance at Mount Misery, 
near Christchurch, Hants, amongst which there was a single specimen of the 
green variety, the A. Julii. Subsequently, I took a solitary individual of A. 
Frishii, near Parley, inland ; and I have this year received, from the latter place, 
four specimens of the variety A. Julii, as well as an intermediate variety, but not 
a single one of the A. Frishii. 

Aphanisticus pusillus. — I took this insect on the 20th of May of the present 
year, both at Lulworth and Glanvilles Wootton, by brushing grass. 

Sibinia arenaria. — I found this in abundance at Black Gang Chine and 
Freshwater Bay, in the Isle of Wight, also, this year. The first pair I possessed 
were presented to me by Mr. Kirby, who, in company with Mr. Spence, captured 
them near Exmouth, in Devonshire. 

Sibinia primita ? — I have found this in plenty at Lulworth, and a single spe- 
cimen at West Hume. 

Galeruca rustica. — The only locality on record for this insect, is Whittlesea 
Mere. I, however, took one, two or three years ago, at Plumley Wood, Dorset.* 

Crypto cephalus bipustulatus. — I have taken at Knighton Heath, near Dor- 
chester. 

Cryptocephalus Moroei. — One specimen of this I found with the last, a 
second at Glanvilles Wootton, and some others at Charmouth. 

Neuroptera. — Hemerobius Jimbriatus. — This insect, which is figured by 
Curtis, appears to be identical with the H. hirtus of the Linnean cabinet. 

Strepsiptera — Stylops Kirbii. — On the 12th of May, this year, I saw two 
individuals flying together amongst some brambles. One I was lucky enough to 

* It also occurs in the Woods of Kent Ens. 

vol. r. 2 k 



250 

catch, and a second the day following : a third I found dead in a cobweb at the 
entrance of a Bees' nest, and two others, very much mutilated, also in a cobweb. 

Hymenoptera. — Zarcea fasciata. — I took this insect, for the first time, at 
Middlemarsh Common, this year. 

Banchus Farrani, (Curtis, pi. 588.) — Two specimens of this insect I took 
twelve years ago, on Parley Heath. 

Bracon denigrator. — I took this insect, which is figured by Curtis, pi. 69, 
near the Copse, at Parley Heath. 

Tengyra Sanvitali. — This, which is thought to be the male of Methoca Ich- 
neumonides, I took a specimen of at Durdle Door, near West Lulworth, on a 
thistle, on the 15th of July, 1835 ; and I took two more on the 11th of July this 
year, one of which I gave to my friend, Mr. Curtis, who seemed surprised at the 
capture, and did not previously possess a British specimen ; but he had taken 
three or four of the Methoca, at Ramsdown, Hants, as well as at Black Gang 
Chine, Isle of Wight, where the Rev. Mr. Rudd also took it, and to both of 
whom I am indebted for specimens.* 

Hedychrum ardens, and Chrysis succincta. — I took these in company, at 
Durdle Door, near Lulworth, which appears to be an excellent locality for choice 
insects ; for, three or four years ago, I captured there, in the space of a week or 
ten days, twenty or thirty species new to my cabinet, amongst which were Halic- 
tophagus Curtisii, figured by Mr. Curtis in his British Entomology, pi. 433, 
Hesperia Actceon, (Brit. Ent., pi. 442), Encyrtus pulchellus, Curt., and minute 
Hymenoptera of the genera Eulophus, Ceraphron, Mymar, JRogas, Chelonus, 
Aphidius, &c, in profusion. 

Cerceris ornata. — This I took last year, at Black Gang Chine, in August, as 
also, 

Ccelioxys Vectis, (Curt. Brit. Ent., pi. 349). 

Osmia Tunensis. — It appears from the MSS. -of the late Captain Blomer, 
that he bred this insect from the shell of a species of Helix ; and I possess a 
memorandum of Osmia atricapilla having been also found in a Helix.\ 

• There is not the least doubt of the Tengyra being the male of the Methoca, for M. 
Wesmael, of Brussels, has repeatedly taken them in copula. The Tengyra, was introduced 
to the British Fauna, by our friend, Mr. Shuckard, in 1833, who captured two specimens 
at Hampstead, as well as many of the Methoca ; and he informs us that he has taken a 
single specimen of the Tengyra, in August, this year, at Birch Wood, in Kent Eds. 

f The specific name of the last Osmia should be xanthomelana, it being the Megachile 
xanthomelana of Kirby, standing as such both in his Monographia and in his cabinet, which 
is remarkable, as it is evidently a true Osmia. It is a question, worthy of determination, 
which is the true instinct of the creature ? — whether to form a nest of clay for itself, as it 
is shown to do by the observations and specimen presented by Mr. Waterhouse to the En- 
tomological Society ; or to adapt the vacant shell of a Snail to the purpose ? We incline 
for the former; yet, possibly, it may only build for itself in case of not finding a suitable 



251 

Lepidoptera. — Vanessa C. album. — I observed this insect here on April 
22, this year, for the first time since October, 1816, when, and prior, it was always 
in great profusion in the autumn. 

Thecla pruni. — I found at Monk's Wood, Huntingdonshire, as, also, 

Thecla W. album, in a wood at the same place, separated merely by a turn- 
pike road from the former, but each seemed confined to its own wood. 

Lyc&na Corydon. — I took this insect last year, on a heath in the New 
Forest. 

Lyccena agestis. — I took a specimen of the variety of this insect, which re- 
sembles the L. salmacis, on the 5th of August, near Lyme Regis, where Messrs. 
Queckett and Paul took two others, also, in the beginning of August : all three 
were females. 

Acherontia atropos — I am informed by Mr. 13. Morris, that he found, in 
September, 1835, at Charmouth, a larva of this insect, similar to the figure of it 
in Fuessly's Archives, and like the one observed by Captain Blomer, which I 
mentioned in my paper, in the 1st number of the present publication.* 

Agrotis nebulosa. — But two or three specimens of this insect were known 
until captured this season by Mr. Raddon, on the Burrows of Appledore, Devon- 
shire. 

Catocola promissa. — I found the wings of this insect at Glanvilles Wootton, 
on the 13th of July, this year, and this is the first indication I have observed of 
its existence here. 

Catocola Fraxini.-^-! possess a specimen of this which was taken at Cran- 
borne, Dorsetshire, about fifty or sixty years ago. 

Charissa pullaria. — On the 5th of August, this year, I took this insect, both 
typical and varying from dull white to a pale black, and so much resembling a 
variety of C. obscuraria, that I feel convinced these, as well as the C. dilucida- 
ria and C. serotinaria are all* varieties of one and the same species. 

Siona dealbata. — On the 27th and 29th of June of the present year, I took 
a couple of specimens at the Caundle Holts, and it was taken at Langport, in 
abundance, by Messrs. Queckett, Paul, and Serrell. 

Scopula ferrugalis. — I took on the 2nd and 8th of November, 1828. The 
late Captain Blomer found it, also, in November : but Samouelle gives June as 
the time of its appearance. 

Scopula longipedalis. — The late Captain Blomer took this at Teignmouth, 
Devon ; and I have taken lately a couple of specimens at Lulworth and Torquay. 

place for forming its nest — such as the shell of a Snail. We also know that this species 
will form its cells amongst heaps of Oyster-shells or accumulations of garden rubbish, 
ltobineau Desvoidy, and other French Entomologists, have observed similar habits in spe- 
cies of Osmia, whence one is named Osmia helices Eds. 

* This is a variety produced, probably, by disease, or the infestation of a Trogus. Eds. 

2k 2 



262 

Geometra degeneraria. — I saw this insect on the 20th of June, and captured 
it on the 12th of July, this year, amongst brambles, near Rufus' Castle, Isle of 
Portland, and observed two or three more. 

Geometra sinuata. — Taken, in June, 1829, by the late Captain Blomer, at 
Ugbroke Park, Devon, and at Langport, by Mr. Queckett, in July, this year. 

Geometra berberata. — I took a specimen at Glanvilles Wootton, on the 26th 
of May, 1 823. There is one in the Linnean cabinet, taken at Maiden Bradley, 
Wilts, by Lord William Seymour, on a ticket attached to which is written " un- 
known to Jones." 

Geometra tristata. — This insect, which has been taken in Devonshire, by the 
late Captain Blomer and Mr. Cocks, I captured near Ambleside, in Westmore- 
land, on the 26th of June, 1827. 

Crambus, n. sp. ? — A specimen, allied to the C. pascuellus, but distinct 
from it, I took on Parley Heath, in August, 1835, when collecting in company 
with the Rev. G. T. Rudd ; and I find Mr. Raddon has another exactly like it, 
which he took in Bewdley Forest, Worcestershire, and I observed a fine specimen 
very nearly allied, in the cabinet of Sir Patrick Walker. 

Pterophorus monodactylus. — This I took in June, 1836, near Liver Frome, 
Dorset, and at Stafford. 

Laria fascelina. — Dr. Abbot observes that a specimen of this insect re- 
mained in the pupa state thirty-four days, a second twenty-eight days, and a third 
twenty-seven days. 

Laria pudibunda.- — I find from Dr. Abbot, also, that he took the larva of 
this in June, which went into the pupa in July, and produced the moth in Octo- 
ber. I once bred one as early as February 19, in the year 1828, and, in the 
year 1819, as late as June 14. 

Eriogaster lanestris. — The late Captain Blomer bred a specimen of this 
insect, July 15, 1827 ; whereas its usual times of appearance are February, 
March, and April. I have observed that the cocoon of this species is so hard 
that it is extremely difficult to cut, excepting a few days prior to the insect's trans- 
formation, when it readily opens at the end where the head of the moth is situated. 
What causes this difference ? I have also observed a very small hole in the 
cocoon, which is probably for the admission of air.* 

Eriogaster populi. — I have bred this insect as early as October ; this was 
in 1821 : and in 1831, as late as December 19. 



* There was a discussion at the October meeting of the Entomological Society, which 
bears upon the subject of the escape of moths from the cocoon, when it seemed to be the 
general opinion that the insect secretes a liquid which acts as a menstruum upon the gum, 
or silk, which constitutes the cocoon : in fact, it was stated that this liquid has been observ- 
ed to be ejected by the mouth. — Eds. 



253 

Noctua atriplicis. — I possess a specimen taken at Stilton, or at Whittlesea 
Mere. 

Diptera. — Scatophaga scybalaria. — This insect, which is figured by Cur- 
tis, has been taken in the Isle of Man, by the late Captain Blomer, and in Ire- 
land, by Mr. Haliday. 

Hemiptera. — Cicada Anglica. — This insect, which is figured by Curtis, in 
pi. 392, is considered as synonymous with the C. hxmatodes of Linne. The 
specimen labelled C. hcernatodes in the Linnean cabinet is very similar, but has 
no red on the thorax. On the ticket attached to it is written " hoematodes of the 
German Naturalists, Br. Clark," but this is somewhat doubtful. 

Fulgora Europ&a — This insect is figured by Donovan, who says it was 
found in Wales, by Hudson and Yeats, but it is now doubted as being British. 
This was also the case with the Chrysomela cerealis, which had formerly been 
taken by Hudson also, but was likewise doubted ; but many specimens have been 
captured latterly, on Snowdon and other mountains in Wales, thus confirming 
Hudson's previous discovery : and this being the case, we may certainly expect 
that the Fulgora will come to light. 

Naucoris aestivalis. — This insect, I understand, has been taken by Weaver, of 
Birmingham, in Sutton Park. I have not seen it. 



MR. SWAINSON'S REMARKS ON VERNACULAR 
NOMENCLATURE EXAMINED. 

By C harles Thorold Wood, Esq. 

Now that nomenclature is receiving, on all sides, that consideration which, 
till lately, has been so unaccountably denied it, we may expect that ere long some 
fixed principles will be adopted, by which the path of those who now grope their 
way in outer darkness may be rendered smooth and easy, and that it will be 
entirely cleared of those perplexities which are so annoying to the student and the 
amateur. I propose, in this paper, to examine the objections to improvements in 
the vernacular nomenclature of birds, as set forth by Mr. Swainson, which, if left 
unanswered, might have considerable influence in retarding terminological reform. 

In an excellent review of The Classification of Birds, in the last No. of The 
Naturalist, the reviewer observes, that Mr. Swainson has not been happy in his 
objections to a reform in nomenclature : and agreeing as I do in this remark, I 
shall now proceed to prove it. Mr. Swainson prefaces his observations as follows ; 



254 

" Nomenclature," he observes, " divides itself into two branches, for all animals with 
which the bulk of mankind are familiar, have two names ; one being the scientific, 
the other the vernacular." Our author's remarks on the first being, for the most 
part, sound and judicious, I shall pass on to the second, with which Mr. S. does 
not appear to be so conversant — probably from having paid less attention to them. 
" Trivial, or vernacular names," says Mr. S., " cannot be said to come within the 
range of scientific nomenclature, because they are not intended for those who 
study Natural History as a science, but merely for the mass of mankind." Thus, 
it seems, according to our author, that those who have not the leisure, or the abi- 
lity, or the inclination to study Natural History as a science, are to be condemned 
to learn erroneous names and, consequently, to imbibe incorrect ideas : in short, 
that the benefits of a correct nomenclature are to be confined to the learned few ; 
while the " mass of mankind" are on no account to participate in them ! I should 
rather have said, that correct names were doubly essential to the many, as they 
have not the means of rectifying the erroneous impressions that must unavoidably 
result from them. " Vernacular names vary," continues Mr. S., " in different 
periods, and not only in every language, but in every province. To attempt, 
therefore, to have a uniform standard of the English names of birds, is as hope- 
less, as we venture to think it would be useless." To say that because erroneous 
names are now in common use, therefore it is hopeless that we shall ever be able 
to supplant them by correct appellations, is surely not very reasonable : as well 
might we say, that, because many errors prevail, it is unlikely that they will ever 
give way to truth. That a reform would be " useless" is Mr. Swainson's opinion : 
I shall now proceed to examine how far he has succeeded in proving this. 

" First," he states, " there can be no doubt that vulgar errors in the naming 
of birds are very general. The Goatsucker ( Caprimulgus ) does not suck 
Goats ; the Hedge Sparrow (Accentor) is not a real Sparrow ; the Tit-mouse 
(Parus) is a bird, and no quadruped ; the Tit Lark is a Warbler ; the Long- 
tailed Mag is no Mag Pye ; and in this manner we might object, and reasonably, 
to one-third of the English names now in use." It is well known that most of 
our commoner British species have, as has been remarked of the Common Dipper, 
" as many names as would suffice for a tolerably well-stocked aviary ;" and this 
is the case with each of the birds above-mentioned. Among this multiplicity, it 
would be strange indeed, if not one good appellation could be found : but instead 
of seeking for the most appropriate, our author has here, in every instance, 
singled out the worst, on which plan we might not only object to one third, but 
also to three thirds of the English names. The Caprimulgus Europoeus of Lin- 
neus, being known by the name Nightjar in one part of Britain, and by that of 
Goatsucker in another, surely we may be allowed to select the appropriate one 
and reject the other, even supposing that it was wrong to coin an appropriate 
name. There are many parts of Britain in which the name Goatsucker is not 



255 

only never used, but also where it is entirely unknown : why, then, should we 
persist in attempting to diffuse a name conveying an idea which we ourselves 
allow to be erroneous ? 

The same remarks will apply to the other names. Thus, in my intercourse 
with the peasantry, I have found the appropriate name, Dunnoc, to be quite as 
common as the erroneous one Hedge Sparrow : indeed, I am quite surprised Mr. 
Swainson should advocate the latter, which has long ago been abandoned by all 
writers on the British Fauna. Tit-mouse is, also, generally abandoned in all our 
works, from the magnificent production of Gould on The Birds of Europe, to 
Miss Taylor's little volume, The Boy and the Birds. From what quarter Mr. 
S. obtained the strange name Longtailed Mag, I really cannot tell ; but if it is in 
use in any part of the island, why should our author be at pains to bring into 
notice obscure names, at the expense of the appropriate names in more general 
use ? I have been accustomed to hear this bird called by the name Longtailed 
Tit, but as it has lately been removed from the genus Tit, Mr. Blyth has pro- 
posed the very appropriate name, Rose Mufflin. Mr. S. tells us that the " Tit 
Lark is a warbler." What does he mean by this ? Does he mean to say that it 
is a songster ? or does he intend to denote some particular genus ? And if the lat- 
ter which genus is intended ? For the name Warbler has, at various times, been 
used to denote the Willet (Silvia), the Fauvet (Ficedula), the Kinglet (Regu- 
lusj, the Whinlin (Melizophilus), &c, &c. ; but, at all events, Mr. S. is wrong, 
for the Anthus pratensis is in the genus Pipit. If Mr. S. makes such mistakes 
as these with regard to British birds, how can his readers rely on his authority as 
to foreign species ? " Some few of these," continues Mr. S., " in systematic 
works upon our native Ornithology, where the most expressive English names are 
inserted, may be altered. The Goatsucker may be called the Nightjar ; the 
Hedge Sparrow, Flitiving, which will be rather better than Shufiiewing ; and so 
on." There is, however, no * alteration" in writing Nightjar, instead of Goat- 
sucker ; this is merely a choice between two names equally well known ; but as 
these names are only intended for the " mass of mankind," it is of course of little 
importance which we adopt ; indeed it may be doubted whether the erroneous 
name is not to be preferred ! With regard to the Accentor modularis, why 
should Mr. S. be at the pains to invent a new name, when there is one quite un- 
objectionable in common use ? I shall not pretend to answer this question ; but 
at all events I may assert that his proposing the new name, Flitwing, would have 
the effect of frightening those averse to innovations, which the adoption of Dunnoc 
would not. 

The next sentence is founded on the erroneous idea that the new names can be 
disseminated in a day or a week, and I shall therefore pass it over, with the re- 
mark that the reformed nomenclature must first be adopted by authors, and all the 
rest will follow easily; especially as the taste for works on Natural History is yearly 



256 



becoming stronger. Mr. Swainson continues — " Admitting that appropriate Eng- 
lish names should be used, who is to invent them ?" I answer that there would 
be but little need for exerting the inventive faculties ; for, as I said before, there 
are very few European or American* birds which have not at least one good name. 
" Once attempt to destroy the received nomenclature," observes Mr. S., " and 
every field naturalist, every tyro of Ornithology will contend for the name he likes 
best. The Longtailed Tit, for instance, has the following names by which it is 
known in different counties : — Huckmuck, Bottle Tom, Longtailed Mag, Long- 
tailed Capon, and Mumruffm. The Yellow Wren, which in fact is not a Wren, 
but a Silvia (Silvia melodia), is called also Willow Wren, Ground Wren, and 
Ground Huckmuck. A choice must be made from these, and by whom ?" No- 
thing is more easy than to make difficulties, and allege them in excuse of our re- 
fusing to do that which we know would be right, though are unwilling to perform. 
But true greatness is shown by overcoming, and not by giving way to, difficulties. 
With regard to the Longtailed Tit, I do not see why we should trouble ourselves 
by trying to displace that established name, unless indeed we agree to remove it 
to a new genus, in which case Muflin is at hand, without there being any necessity 
for raking up unheard of names from every corner of the island. If it were necessary 
to do this, a volume might soon be filled with such names as Captain, Proud-tailor, 
&c. &c, which are in use in different parts. With regard to the Silvia melodia, 
" Song Willet" is the most appropriate name I have heard applied to it, and Sibilous 
Willet for the Silvia sibilans. The name Wren belongs to Anorthura, of which 
there are only two European species. " Whatever reforms, therefore," continues 
Mr. S., " which experienced amateurs will admit, must be few and judicious, giving 
in general the generic or family name to the species ; calling, for instance, all the 
ordinary species of the Silviadce, Warblers ; except, indeed, those few groups which 
are already distinguished by a separate vernacular name, as the Redstarts, Wag- 
tails, Robins, and Chats." Wheatear, Reedling, Nightingale, Tit, Muflin, Dun- 
noc, and Pipit, he might and should have added, so that of the fourteen genera of 
the Willet family described by Selby in his British Ornithology, eleven are popu- 
larly known by distinctive names, and of the ten British genera in the Finch fa- 
mily, nine are popularly known by distinctive names. The fourteen genera in the 
Duck family are in that work described under as many vernacular generic names, 
and I might multiply instances to the end of the chapter, were it necessary : every 
one of course has the Feathered Tribes and the British Ornithology, and those 
works will bear out my assertions. It thus appears that Mr. Swainson's plan — 
not the one he opposes — would be productive of most alteration if carried through- 

* It must be understood that I use the term America in the same sense as Audubon, 
namely, for the Continent to the north of the Isthmus of Panama ; calling the southern 
Continent Columbia. 



257 

out. That able zoologist lays it down as a rule that, " if a principle is good, its ad- 
vantages will be more and more apparent the more it is followed in detail." Sup- 
pose we test this principle by his own rule : we should then call the Blue 
Tit, Blue Warbler ; the Grey Wagtail, Grey Warbler ; the Rock Dunlin, Rock 
Snipe ; the Mute Swan, Mute Duck ; and so on throughout. 

" The Silvia regulus" continues Mr. Swainson, " being at the head of this 
family, should, more especially, be termed a Warbler, par excellence ; that is, if 
the same rule is to guide us both in scientific and in vernacular nomenclature. 
By this plan some sort of connection will be pointed out between the modern sub- 
genera ; and we shall not have two birds, actually belonging to the same genus, 
(like the Yellow and the Goldcrested Warblers), known by two names which have 
no apparent relation to each other." The first proposition is founded on an erro- 
neous basis ; and as the error seems to be very prevalent, it may be as well briefly 
to expose it. Mr. S. here pronounces the genus Regulus to be the typical 
group of the Silviadx (Willet family), and, in accordance with this idea, he says, 
that the name Silvia should be taken from the Willets (of which there are three 
British species) and given to the Kinglets, which he would thus deprive of their 
established name, as, also, he would the Willets, thus creating a double confusion. 
This is bad enough already ; but the plan carries yet other evils in its train ; for 
other naturalists, dissenting from the opinion of Mr. S., may single out another 
genus as typical. This is actually the case, for Mr. Blyth maintains the Fauvets 
(Ficedula) to be the type of the family ; and he, following out Mr. Swainson's 
plan, would wrest the name Silvia from the unhappy Kinglets, which would thus, 
like other crowned heads, be deprived of their name as soon as they got it. There 
would yet be a third class, who would contend, with Selby, that the Willets are 
the true types of the family, (which I take to be the real state of the case), and 
thus, in one family, there would be continual confusion. And again, suppose 
some new genus were discovered, which Swainson himself should pronounce to be 
the type, he would be obliged to re-take the name Silvia from the Kinglets, to 
which he would then restore the old name ! I have touched on this subject be- 
fore ; but as it is still in as full force as ever, I have thought it my duty to treat of 
it more in detail. I have now given my own opinion, fortified by reason ; but I can 
also bring the authority of Mr. Swainson into the field, and turn his own weapons 
against himself. In that gentleman's work, On the Classification of Quadru- 
peds, he says, at page 378 : — " We should gladly have retained the name of Ca- 
pridw (Goat family) to this group, had we not ascertained that the Goats were 
an aberrant, and not a typical genus ; these latter groups always giving their 
name to the family." The family here spoken of Mr. S. calls the " Antilope fa- 
family, ( ' Antilopidce ) '." Now this is precisely what I argue for. If the King- 
lets are typical, I would call the family the Kinglet family ( Regulidw J ; if the 
Fauvets, the Fauvet family (Ficedulidx) ; and so on. In another part, Mr. S. 
vol. i. 2 L 



258 

tells us that the name Todidce should give way to Muscicapidce, because the 
genus Muscicapa, and not Todius, is typical : then why not be consistent, and 
act on this principle throughout? 

Having thus considered the first proposition, let us scrutinize the second. 
The Silvia melodia and the Regulus auricapillus, he tells us, " belong to the 
same genus." This would lead most naturalists to imagine that Swain son adopt- 
ed the genera of the old school, which is far from being the case. Either from 
an aifectation of singularity, or from some other unexplained cause, Mr. S. does 
not use the term, genus, in its usual and proper signification, viz., the lowest 
groups of species ; these he calls sub-genera, and applies the name genus to the 
groups next above these, for which Selby has very judiciously proposed the name 
Domus, and the termination ites. The sub-genera disfigure Mr. Swainson's favour- 
ite Northern Zoology — a work which would have been improved in many respects 
had it been half the size and a quarter the price. To this work I refer for a prac- 
tical illustration of the inconvenience of the sub-genus — a name which should be 
altogether abandoned — and will now continue our examination. 

Mr. Swainson next proceeds to consider the theory that each genus should 
have a vernacular name peculiar to itself : " In regard to the second proposition," 
he says, " that each genus and sub-genus in general Ornithology should have a 
distinct vernacular name, the difficulties are of a much more insuperable nature. 
It would require the coinage of between 300 and 400 English names for birds of 
whose manners and habits we know little or nothing : and, after all, what possible 
use would this accomplish ? Is it not sufficient, for instance, to designate the five 
primary groups of the Parrots (Parrot family) by their present well-known names 
of Maccaws, Parrots, Cocatoos, Lories, and Parakeets, without breaking these up 
into twenty-five others, which would make ordinary persons lose sight, in fact, of 
the groups themselves, in a multiplicity of small distinctions which they never 
could comprehend, and which would only perplex them ? But what should we do 
with the Woodpeckers, (Woodpecker family) — a group of the same value, and 
therefore containing as great a number of sub-genera as the Parrots (Parrot fami- 
ly) ? Five-and-twenty names, at this rate, must be devised for all the variations 
of a Woodpecker ! and they must be appropriate, for otherwise what is their use ?" 
Mr. S. here takes great pains to refute and show the insuperable difficulties of a 
proposition of his own making : for, as far as I am aware, he is the first who has 
proposed to give an English name to every known genus of birds. This would be 
a very useless scheme ; for the majority of these genera are known only to a few 
scientific ornithologists, and perhaps known only to them as dried skins ; whereas, 
English names are not intended for the scientific few, but for the unscientific 
many — or, in Mr. Swainson's phrase, for the mass of mankind. Those few genera 
that are known generally, should, of course, be called by their proper English 
generic and specific names, and the rest, known only to the scientific, will be called 



259 

by their Latin names : but in no case should a bird not in the genus Psittacus be 
called a Parrot, or not in Lorius be called a Lory. As the English language 
extends into all parts of the globe, English names for each of the genera will spring 
up naturally. It has been calculated that, within a century from this time, the Eng- 
lish language will be the native tongue of upwards of three hundred millions of 
the human race ; and when the great continent of America, and the vast island of 
Australia shall be peopled by descendants of the inhabitants of Britain, surely 
it will be worth while to coin English names for the accommodation of so respect- 
able a majority of the human race. 

" It is only," concludes Mr. S., " when we come to follow a theory, whether 
in science or in common matters, down to its details, and see how it will work, 
that we can judge of its practicability or of its use. Some few vernacular names, 
indeed, may be occasionally added, but the construction of our language is not 
well adapted for this purpose. To attempt expunging a well known vulgar name 
because it does not happen to express a scientific group, appears equally repugnant 
to common sense and sound judgment." We have seen how Mr. Swainson's 
theory (namely, giving the English family name to all the genera) has stood his 
own test ; we have assayed it in his own crucible, and have found that what he 
recommended as gold has turned out to be mere lead : at the same time I fear- 
lessly invite him to try the theory he opposes in the same crucible, and venture to 
predict that it will come out scathless, even from a furnace seven times heated. 
I do not understand what Mr. Swainson intends when he speaks of " expunging 
a well known vulgar name because it does not happen to express a scientific group." 
Instances should have been given, that all misconception might be avoided. Does 
he allude to such names as Rook, Kittiwake, and Smew ? If so, I should answer 
that, as these names do not inform us as to the genus to which each respectively 
belongs, they are necessarily imperfect, and this imperfection might either be 
avoided by adding the name of the genus, as Rook Crow, Kittiwake Gull, and 
Smew Merganser, or else descriptive specific names might be substituted, as 
Barefaced Crow, Gray Gull, Pied Merganser. But, perhaps, he alludes to such 
names as Gold Finch, Bull Finch, Willow Wren, Tit Mouse, Bank Martin, &c. 
These names must be either erroneous or correct ; if the former, no unprejudiced 
person can for a moment hesitate as to whether they should be retained or not, 
but if the latter, there is no need to discuss them. A person ignorant of Natural 
History would suppose that the above named birds belong to the genera Siskin 
(Carduelis), Alp or Coalhood (Pyrrula), Willet (Silvia), Mouse (MusJ, 
and Martin (Maries) ; and in every instance he would be wrong. Can such a 
nomenclature be desirable ? or, rather, does it not defeat the end for which no- 
menclature was formed ? Yes ; and on this account I should recommend all who 
have the interests of the " mass of mankind" in view to avoid all such names 
as worse than useless. 



260 

I have now, sentence by sentence, shewn the unsoundness of Mr. Swainson's 
views. That it is practicable to carry into execution the plans here advocated 
may be seen by referring to Number XIV. of that valuable periodical The Analyst, 
and that it is desirable to do so I think I have already, in some measure, shewn, and 
shall, in all probability, do so more fully when I reply to Mr. Morris. That a writer 
of such true depth, masterly precision, and admirable talent as Mr. Swainson should 
have so signally failed when he turned aside from the straight and narrow path 
which leads to truth, is a source of real gratification to those who are anxious for 
the universal substitution of truth for error ; and though the latter may sometimes 
prevail for a time, like the murky cloud of a summer's day, yet equally transient 
will be its triumph. 



A BOTANICAL TOUR IN HEREFORDSHIRE, MONMOUTHSHIRE, 
AND SOUTH WALES ; 

WITH INCIDENTAL NOTICES OF THE SCENERY, ANTIQUITIES, &C 

By Edwin Lees, F.L.S. and F.E.S.L. 

(Continued from page 21 7> 

There are two enemies particularly annoying to the practical botanist in his 
explorations. The first of these is the road-surveyor — maledictions on his head ! — 
who, galloping along on his well-appointed steed, and thoughtfully pausing here 
and there, has already, in idea, cut through one hill, avoided another, gained a 
yard in one place, and overcome an angle in another, till the old winding, spread- 
ing, sheltered, high-banked way, with its terraced footpath bordered by " Robin- 
run-i'-the-hedge," " Houndstongue," " Five-fingered grass," " Soapwort," and 
many an old remembered favourite, can be no longer recognized in the long, dull, 
mathematical macadamization that has been just laid down according to modern 
rule, and where no plant but the " cursed Thistle" is likely to vegetate for many 
a long year.* For not only is the pedestrian brought down from his high but safe 

* This is no fancied picture, since I can enumerate at least three remarkable plants 
■which have all disappeared from the vicinity of Worcester within the last few years, occa- 
sioned by alterations and improvements on and about the roads. The first is the Cynoglos- 
sum sylvaticum, recorded by Dr. Nash as met with near " the third milestone on the Per- 
shore road," but now not to be seen within many miles of the spot. The second is Anthris- 
cm cerefolium, mentioned by Dr. Stokes as growing, in 1775? in great profusion, just beyond 



261 

eminence to a level with every mud-splasher who wilfully dashes along on the 
very verge of the path, but every green oasis that formerly gladdened the eye is 
hedged off — every gate, surmounted with a formidable chevaux-de-frize, frowns 
upon the hopeful eye — 

" Even the bare-worn common is denied" — 

and not a stile remains to offer a meditative lounge, which must now be sought, if 
at all, within those hallowed recesses where, thanks to legislative wisdom, you 
perceive you are " Licensed to be drunk on the premises /" 

But " what 's the use of sighing ?" I can have no hope to soften or macada- 
mize the heart of the obdurate road-surveyor. But there is another enemy that 
I may hope to touch, and that is the botanist himself. Whoever has sought for 
the rarer plants, as I have done, in the habitats mentioned in " the books," must 
have often with me have felt the pang of disappointment at finding no traces of 
the species in the designated localities ; and so much did this feeling operate upon 
the late Mr. Purton that, in his Midland Flora, he declared that no plants should 
appear unless observed by himself or some living authority he could depend upon. 
But the rapacity of even living collectors is unfortunately proverbial, and it often 
defeats itself. I have known young enthusiastic botanists, on being taken to the 
locality of a rare plant, rashly root up every one that could be found ; so that 
either the species in question was actually eradicated there, or at any rate the habitat 
became " unproductive" for some years to come. There was much good sense in the 
country dame I have heard of who incessantly and invariably aimed to impress upon 
all about her the maxim " always keep an egg in the nest :" and this is equally appli- 
cable to botanical as to pecuniary affairs. If a rare plant, when found, is indiscri- 
minately gathered, without " leaving an egg in the nest," not only is the next 
botanist who may come to the spot disappointed, but it may be even imagined, 
and not altogether unjustly, that the plant in question was never really met with 
there, while even charity herself is compelled to suggest that " some mistake" 
must have arisen. Hence my invariable custom is, where more than one plant 
presents itself, to " leave an egg in the nest ;" and I recommend this principle to 
my brother botanists. Of course, where specimens abound there can be no harm 
in " making hay while the sun shines ;" and I shall now, therefore, without fur- 
ther circumlocution, proceed to my herborizing avocations. 

Abergavenny is a good central position to radiate from into the surrounding 

the turnpike on the Tewkesbury road ; here I observed it for several successive years, till, 
in 1830, the fiat went forth, the road was widened and altered, and the plant lost. I have 
now in my herbarium a specimen of Verbascum virgatum which I gathered in 1 828, growing 
by the side of the Kidderminster road, about two miles from Worcester; I again noticed it 
the following year, but the strictest search since has been unable to detect it. 



262 

districts, tempting alike to the botanist and the lover of picturesque scenery. The 
sparkling Usk rolls beneath its double bridge, glances on its cumbrous ruined castle 
seated on a green elevated mound, and, ploughing into the gravel on its pebbly 
shores, hastens along its beauteous vale to the ocean. Bounding the valley on the 
west rises the stupendous Blorenge Mountain to the height of 1720 feet, the termi- 
nation in this direction of that band of mountain limestone that encompasses the 
South Wales coal-field ; clouds ever and anon wreath its summit, while the morn- 
ing sun lights up the woods at its base, its green sides, and its protruding rocks, 
leaving the vast punch -bowl hollows of the mountain shadowed in gloomy obscu- 
rity. Northward the pyramidal height of the Sugar Loaf and its massive subject 
buttresses of old red sandstone block up the vale, leaving but a scanty space for 
the passage of the Usk on the one hand, and shelving off on the other towards the 
isolated fortress of the Skirrid Vawr, whose terraced ridges and detached promon- 
tories form a commanding object eastward ; while from thence to the south an 
undulating woody ridge, capped by the feathery Little Skirrid, extends almost to 
the very banks of the river. 

" The lucid Usk, the undulating line 

That nature loves ; whether with gentle bend 

She slopes the vale, or lifts the gradual hill, 

Winds the free rivulet, or down the bank 

Spreads the wild wood's luxuriant growth, or breaks 

With interrupting heights the even bound 

Of the out-stretched horizon."* 

To increase the charm of the scene, the foaming little river Gavenny, to which the 
town owes its name, rushes from the eminences eastward through richly verdant 
meadows to increase the liquid resources of the Usk at this place. The beauties of 
the country around, Crickhowell only six miles northward, Ilagland's noted towers 
eight miles to the south, with the matchless arches of Tintern within the range of 
a more distant excursion, conspire to tempt the pausing footsteps of the tourist at 
Abergavenny ; but, anxious to press forward while all was bright and gay over- 
head, I determined to encamp here on my return for a short time. I, therefore, 
took measures for proceeding to Newport as soon as breakfast was dispatched, and 
meantime met the first rays of the saffron morn on the dewy banks of the Gavenny 
and the Usk. 

Sambucus ebulus, the Dwarf Elder, I noticed by a spring on the road towards 
Skenfreth, and observed it in considerable plenty in a hedge not far from the 
foot of the Derry. 

Cotyledon umbilicus appeared in profusion and luxuriance on many old walls 
in the town and suburbs. 

* Sotheby. 



263 

Orobanche minor. — On the top of an old garden wall on the road to the 
little Skirrid, overgrown with Ivy, and in a very rubbishy state. 

* Mentha viridis. — Plentiful in a watery ditch below the bridge and not far 
from the Usk. 

Rosa arvensis. — In great beauty and abundance, adorning the thickets at the 
foot of the Derry, and apparently the most common Rose in this vicinity. 

* Salix rosmarinifolia. — In a marsh overspread with various willows, and 
overgrown with brambles, reeds, &c, forming a favourite angling haunt for some 
distance along the Usk, below the castle. 

* S. amygdalina — Almond-leaved Willow. In the same shady, secluded spot. 
Tussilago farfara. — Most abundant on the shores of the Usk. 

In proceeding from Abergavenny to Newport, I could not help remarking the 
greater exuberance of the Common Elder ( Sambucus nigra J, filling the hedges 
to an extent I never before noticed in any other county than Monmouthshh-e, and 
loading the air with its peculiar scent, while its snowy cymes whitened the country 
far and wide. It is remarkable, however, that in this country it is never found 
far removed from the works or habitation of man, and never within woods, unless, 
perhaps, on the site of some abandoned cottage. This suggests the idea of its 
not being really indigenous, but introduced into Britain at an early period, and 
very likely by the Romans, who had no less than five principal stations in Mon- 
mouthshire, one of which, Caerleon, was the metropolis of the province termed 
Britannia Secunda ; and here the Roman power and jurisdiction was established for 
more than three centuries.* Dr. Walker thought the Elder was not indigenous to 
Scotland, justly observing that there existed no old trees, and the only veteran of 
any bulk that I ever met with was in the vale of Neath, near the Porth-yr-ogof, or 
Mellte cavern, which I shall have occasion to mention hereafter. Loudon remarks 
that " it is frequent in Greece, and was formerly much employed in medicine there, 
as the space it occupies in the works of Theophrastus bears ample testimony."-]- 
We can scarcely doubt, therefore, that the fame of its virtues preceded it, and 
ultimately led to its transportation from Greece, through Italy, to England, where 
hot " Elder wine" is still considered to be no bad renovator on a cold frosty night, 
if, indeed, the cauterizing potion can make good its passage to the interior — but 
it requires some effort to do it. The Elder was probably indigenous to Italy, if 
the account of Pliny is to be depended upon, who says " The shepherds are tho- 
roughly persuaded that the Elder tree growing in a by-place out of the way, and 
where the crowing of Cocks from any town cannot be heard, makes more shrill 
pipes and louder trumpets than any other." £ Phillips, in his Companion for the 
Orchard, gravely tells us that " Boerhaave, the celebrated physician of Leyden, 

* Evans' and Britton's Monmouthshire. 

f Loudon's Arboretum and Fruticetum Britannicum, p. 1029. 

X Pliny's Natural History, translated by Phil. Holland, M.D. 



264 

is said to have held this tree in so great veneration that he seldom passed it with- 
out taking off his hat and paying reverence to it." The old Dutch doctor must 
surely have been a determined toper of Elder wine ! what else he could see in 
the Elder to induce him to doff his cocked hat to it seems impossible to conceive. 
Phillips omits to state his authority for this story, which, if true, was perhaps con- 
nected with some superstition, from which the greatest men have been not 
always exempt. 

At Llanellen, four miles from Abergavenny, we crossed the Usk, and in a 
hedge-row here *Rosa villosa appeared with its beautiful deep pink blossoms. 

Grammnitis ceterach shewed itself for the first time in this quarter in the 
interstices of a wall. 

Further on, a gigantic old Ash tree, enveloped with Ivy, formed an interest- 
ing spectacle. Passed Mamhilade Church, whose cemetery is wrapt in sombre 
gloom, by eleven large Yew trees, one of which, near the building, is of very large 
dimensions. A whimsical idea has been taken up by St. Pierre, and rather 
strangely propagated by Dr. Johnston in his interesting Flora of Berwick-upon- 
Tweed, that Ivy will not grow upon other evergreens.* The futility of such an 
hypothesis was here very evident, for many of these Yews were densely clothed 
with Ivy, as well as numerous Firs in the same vicinity. It must be admitted 
that a gloomier object than a Yew or Fir cloaked in still darker verdure than its 
own shadowy robe is hardly conceivable ; and I was much struck some years ago 
with one of this description that I met with canopying, in sombre twilight, a dingle 
near the Wrekin, where a silent streamlet wept through the lurid shade. In 
Lower Sapey churchyard, Worcestershire, there is also a singular Yew which 
the Ivy upon it has completely overpowered, surmounted the very topmost 
branches, and formed a large ivied canopy upon the summit of the tree. I have 
noticed Portugal Laurels, also, and various species of Pinus, robed in Ivy in 
Witley Park, Worcestershire, and in numerous other places. These Ivy-enve- 
loped evergreens are not disregarded by the birds, who find them very convenient 
places for nidification ; and they are especial favourites with the Stock Dove, 
where he coos away unseen and undisturbed. 

At Llannihangel, two miles from Pontypool, I was much pleased to notice the 
custom of planting the graves of the rural inhabitants with flowers — an old 
observance, still piously kept up at present in South Wales. It is not, perhaps, 
generally known that plants of pungent scent are chosen for this purpose, in pre- 
ference to more specious and more elegant flowers. Thus, Rosemary, Balm, 
Old-man, and Tansy are of most frequent occurrence ; the latter of which, and 
some others, are alluded to by Mason, in his fine elegy commemorative of the 
practice : 

" Johnston's Flora of Berwick-upon-Tweed, vol. i., p. 209, under Pinnx sylvestris. 



265 

" Full many a flower, 
Pansy and Pink, with languid beauty smile ; 
The Primrose opening with the twilight hour, 
And velvet tufts of fragrant Chamomile. 

For, more intent the smell than sight to please, 
Surviving love selects its vernal race ; 
Plants that with early perfume feed the breeze, 
May best each dank and noxious vapour chase." 

The idea seems to be, to render the last sad home of the departed in the cold 
ground as pleasing as possible, by throwing around it a grateful perfume ; and 
perhaps this may have originally arisen from sanitary motives, the putrid effluvia 
from the mortal remains being thus neutralized by the agency of the plants, no 
danger need be feared from a silent communion with the loved object now for 
ever at rest. A somewhat similar idea seems to have been entertained by Shak- 
speare, when, in reference to the death of Fidele, he exclaims — 

" With fairest flowers, while summer lasts, 
I'll sweeten thy sad grave." 

When the Pink is extensively employed for this purpose, as here and in Cad- 
oxton church-yard, near Neath, the most beautiful, as well as elegant, effect is 
produced. The Rosemary bushes are but gloomy, unsightly objects, and the rank 
Tansy ( Tanacetum vulgare), however beautiful when in its proper place by the 
river side, adorning the bank with its golden flowers, is here no better than a weed, 
and sadly out of place. A distinction is to be made between planting the graves 
with herbs, and strewing them with flowers — the latter only taking place immedi- 
ately after interment, and being continued only at intervals, till the growing plants 
put forth their blossoms. One of the most charming spectacles of this kind that 
I ever saw, was in the church-yard of Trevethin, near Pontypool, in the month of 
March some years ago, where several children were diligently employed in deco- 
rating every grave with the brilliant flowers of the Daffodil, " that comes before 
the Swallow dares." These, covered with dew-drops, and glistening in the morn- 
ing rays of a vernal sun, produced a very brilliant effect. That this highly poeti- 
cal custom has been handed down from antiquity, and was practised by the Ro- 
mans and Romanized Britons in these very parts, no doubt whatever can exist. 
When Martyn, in his notes to the 5th eclogue of Virgil, under the words " Spar- 
gite humum film" says, that " it was a custom among the ancients to scatter 
leaves and flowers on the ground, in honour of eminent persons, and some traces 
of this custom remain among us at present," he doubtless alludes to the subject 
under consideration, as the ground was to be spread with leaves in honour of 
vol. r. 2 m 



266 

Daplmis, and a monument raised to his memory. This original heathen custom 
was found not inappropriate to Christianity, and is alluded to by several of the fa- 
thers, though St. Ambrose seems to imply a disregard to, or disinclination for, the 
practice. " / will not" he says in his funeral oration on Valentinian, " sprinkle 
his grave with flowers, but pour on his spirit the odour of Christ ; let others scat- 
ter baskets of flowers. Christ is our Lily ; with this I will consecrate his relics." 
One curious circumstance struck me in this church-yard, which, whether acci- 
dental or the work of art, affected me considerably. A wild Rose bush ( R. caninaj 
had taken its position, as an epiphyte, upon the sole Yew in the cemetery, from 
whence its pink flowers depended in long waving tresses in beautiful profusion. 
It seemed to me an emblem of struggling genius and virtue, surmounting the most 
unfavourable circumstances, and flourishing in despite of the baleful and poisonous 
influence of the envy and malice that hoped to overshadow and destroy it. Or it 
might be considered emblematical of those unexpected joys which often irradiate 
the horizon of life when only clouds seem rolling around ; or here, in particular, 
it might symbolize the delightful hours we once enjoyed in the company of those 
endeared to our hearts, and embalmed in our recollections ; but whom we can 
never again engage in delightful association till the mournful Yew has waved its 
branches over us. Such thoughts and reminiscences of departed joys are truly, 
indeed, like the fragrant Rose flowering upon the dark Yew. 

" .Long, long be my heart with such memories fill'd, 
Like the vase in which Roses have once been distiU'd ; 
You may break, you may ruin, the vase if you will — 
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still." 

The dark, dirty, and uninviting town of Pontypool, next presented itself to 
view, where there is nothing to attract a naturalist, unless he pursues his course 
to the hills and mountains beyond, which was not now my intention. The tor- 
rent that brawls along its stony bed at this place, bears the name of the Avon 
Lwid, or Grey river, from the circumstance of its waters, in rainy weather, pour- 
ing down in a milk-white flood. This is rather a curious fact, and arises, as I 
had formerly an opportunity of observing, from the soft breccia composing the 
hills from which the springs forming the river arise. The waters pouring down 
the declivities, disintegrate the soft white sandstone, which contains the quartzose 
and jasperian pebbles as in a cement, and become so loaded with the comminuted 
arenarian matter, that they appear like streams of milk murmuring amid the green 
moss and rising copse-wood, till they mingle together amid masses of ironstone to 
form the foaming " Grey River." 

Nothing of any interest occurred between Pontypool and Newport, which lat- 
ter town we entered by a massive stone bridge across the Usk. The church 
stands on an eminence out of the town, with some fine Ash trees within its pre- 



267 

cincts, and commands a splendid view of the Bristol Channel, the Flat and Steep 
Holmes, and the opposite coast of Somerset. While waiting for the arrival of 
the mail to proceed to Swansea, I investigated the environs of the town, which 
proved, however, rather unproductive. 

* (Enanthe crocata ? I perceived in some quantity in flower, overspreading a 
marshy spot in a field by the side of the Cardiff road. I afterwards noticed this 
plant in several other parts of South Wales, where it appears to grow profusely. 
Since Sir W. J. Hooker introduced the CE. apiifolia of Professor Brotero into 
the British Flora, from the information of Mr. Banks, of Plymouth, this " Celery- 
leaved Water Drop-wort" has found its way into six counties, but I cannot help 
suspecting that here a distinction has been introduced " without a difference." 
Botanists had taken up a notion (how true I am unable to say) that CE. crocata al- 
ways abounded in a yellow juice. Hence Mr. Banks, finding a similar plant with " no 
peculiar juices," is induced to consider it a new species, entirely on that account. 
Now, certainly, if the existence or non-existence of the supposed " yellow fetid 
juice" makes the plant before us either CE. crocata or CE. apiifolia, why then 
my plant is the latter. But the question arises whether this " poisonous yellow 
juice" is constant in CE. crocata, or whether it really appears at all ? I have 
met with the plants abundantly on the banks of the Teme, Worcestershire, and, 
though frequently gathering it, never verified the emission of the " orange-coloured, 
fetid, very poisonous juice," which, according to Sir J. E. Smith, ought to exude 
from " all parts of the herb when wounded." It is remarkable that Sir W. J. 
Hooker merely observes " full, it is said, of a poisonous yellow juice," and intro- 
duces CE. apiifolia " with some hesitation." I cannot conceive the two plants to be 
essentially different, especially in the absence of any recent witnesses of the emis- 
sion of yellow fetid juice from the CE. crocata, which very probably, if it appear at 
all, is only at peculiar seasons, or in very variable quantities. Dr. Woodville, in his 
account of CE. crocata in the Medical Botany,* says not a word about yellow juice, 
though anxious to warn his readers on account of its poisonous qualities, being by 
Dr. Poultney " esteemed to be the most deleterious of all the vegetables which 
this country produces." Brotero's name implies the similarity of his plant to 
Celery, and Woodville states that three French prisoners residing at Pembroke 
mistook the CE. crocata for ivild celery, and, presenting it to their comrades, had 
nearly caused the death of the whole of them, and two actually died from partak- 
ing of it. The death of five boys in Ireland from the same circumstance is also 
recorded. I should fear mischief from the use of the term apiifolia, unless it 
can he satisfactorily shewn that the plant intended is innoxious, and differs in other 



* Supplement, quarto edition, p. 143. In the second edition of Withering, under the 
co-editorship of the late Dr. Stokes, a most acute botanist, the yellow juice of CE. crocata is 
unnoticed. 

2 m2 



268 

particulars from crocata, independent of the emission or non-emission of the yel- 
low or orange-coloured juice. Mr. Watson, with the best intentions, here only- 
increases the difficulty by inquiring, in his Botanist's Guide, for apiifolia only, 
and leaving out all mention of crocata. No light, however, is thrown upon the 
subject by any of his correspondents, for three set the plant down without any par- 
ticular habitat, while even the acute Mr. J. E. Bowman puts a query to his " apii- 
folia 9" observing " I found what / take to be this on the Menai Strait, above 
Vayrwl, and in a dingle near Beaumaris.* Since penning the above I have re- 
ceived the second edition of Lindley's Synopsis, where, in the Supplement, the 
following remark occurs, coinciding with the views I have taken. " In the Bri- 
tish Flora, Dr. Hooker admits, under the name CEnanthe apiifolia, of Brotero, 
a plant resembling CE. crocata, from which it differs, among other things, in hav- 
ing no yellow poisonous juice : but in the third edition of that work the species 
is abandoned, upon the ground of such juice not being constantly present in CE. 
crocata itself. Of course, it will not constantly be present in that plant more 
than in any thing else, inasmuch as the presence of such secretions depend upon 
seasons and other circumstances ; but from what has been said about the supposed 
CE. apiifolia, we recommend that plant to a new and more diligent investigation : 
it is said to grow about Plymouth." 

On several Rumices, growing by the side of the rail-road, I noticed the Dock 
iEcidium (2E. rubellum, Pers.) in great plenty, displaying its white clustered pseu- 
doperidia in extreme delicacy and beauty. It is not common in fructification in 
the midland counties, and hence Purton has figured it under the name of JE. 
rumicis.-f 

Being anxious to investigate the vicinity of Swansea, I found it expedient to 
proceed there by mail, which going the whole way to Milford, I found every place 
but one engaged — that one was unfortunately inside. Little account, therefore, 
can I give at present of the plants intermediate between Newport and Swansea, 
except that * Cotyledon umbilicus, not noticed by Mr. Watson as inhabiting Gla- 
morganshire, appeared very plentiful on almost every rock and wall I could 
occasionally discern between Cardiff and Briton Ferry. At Cardiff I had an op- 
portunity of walking round the area of the castle, and glancing at its ruined keep ; 
when, as I was about to retire, a porter, in the livery of Lord Bute, would in- 
sist upon conducting me into the only lion's den about the place — a square damp 
dungeon close to the entrance, with a solitary ray of light hardly able to wind its 
way in through a corner cranny, where he assured me Robert, Duke of Norman- 
dy, had been confined for above twenty years ! I had forgotten all about Duke 
Robert, and repented that I had been thus allured by my conductor, and must 

* "Watson's New Botanist's Guide to the Localities of the Rarer Plants of Britain, p. 229. 
f Purton, Midland Flora, vol. iii., t. 26. 






J 



f 



) ' 




Fig 5. 



.1 















Fig 2 









i . 






H 



269 

surrender the image and superscription of his majesty on such a dismal and 
wretched pretence as this. If Robert ever had been confined in the dungeon I 
was ushered into, there was little necessity to put out his eyes, for they would not 
even have shown him a spider on the wall. I darted hastily off, resumed my 
seat, and resolved to abandon dungeon explorations, where no sight of plant, no 
sound of insect, or form of beauty was likely to repay my search. 

( To be continued). 



ON THE EVIDENCE OF DESIGN OBSERVABLE IN THE VITAL 

ECONOMY OF THE COLCHICUM AUTUMNALE, (Linn.), 

OR COMMON MEADOW SAFFRON.* 

By William Allport Leighton, Esq., B.A., F.B.S.E., &c. 

The innumerable instances of design, or the adaptation of certain means to a 
corresponding end, visible in apparently the most insignificant works of nature, 
merit the attention and claim the admiration of man. In the vegetable world, 
no less than in other departments of creation, this observation holds in full force, 
for almost every plant which either displays its beauteous blossoms to gladden and 
attract the eye, or which merely uprears its minute verdure from the surface of 
the tempest-riven rock or time-worn ruin, only to lend its aid in forming one of those 
varied tints which contribute so materially to the picturesque beauty of such situ- 
ations, will be found, on careful examination, to possess contrivances for the sup- 
port and reproduction of the particular species which evince the most consummate 
skill, the most unbounded wisdom. 

In the Colchicum autwmnale, or Meadow Saffron, these provisions are pecu- 
liarly worthy our careful attention. This plant is included in the Linnean Class 
Hexandria, and belongs to the Natural Order Melanthacece ; a tribe abounding 
in a powerfully acrid and poisonous principle, which, under the guidance of expe- 
rience and judgment, has proved of essential service in medicine. The lower 
portion of the stem of the Colchicum autumnale is swollen into a cormus or solid 
bulb (see Fig. I, a, a),f and lies deeply buried in the earth, invested by the dried 

* Read before the Shropshire and North Wales Natural History and Antiquarian 
Society, November 1, 1836. 

+ a, the entire plant as it appears in the autumn — b, the young bulb and stem attached 
to the parent bulb — c, the parent bulb, (the young bulb being removed), showing the 
groove and the attaching fibres— o, exterior and interior views of the young plant detach- 



270 

and partially decomposed leaves and spathas of preceding years. In a groove (b) 
on one side of this bulb, at a point a little above the life-knot, or part from which 
the true roots depend, and connected with it by a bundle of horizontal fibres (c% 
is attached a smaller bulb fdj, which, during the summer months, absorbs its 
chief nourishment from the parent bulb, gradually swelling and enlarging, and, so 
soon as the first chilly winds of autumn have breathed over the earth, elongating 
its summit, and protruding through the soil a long tubular spatha or sheath (e), 
which envelopes the entire bulb, stem, and roots. In this sheath lie two or more 
perfectly formed flowers, each consisting of an elongated tube crowned with a 
purple limb of six petals, and also the rudiments of one or two other blossoms. 
On removing the membranous sheath, we perceive at the base of the floral tube, 
immediately above the young roots, a few rudimentary leaves (f) closely encir- 
cling the slightly swollen bulb. On stripping off these leaves, a small bud or 
germ fgj, destined to become the bulb of a succeeding year, appears attached to 
that side of the young bulb which is farthest from the parent bulb of the present 
year. On entirely removing the leaves, and opening the elongated tube of the 
flower, we discover that to the three inner divisions of its perianth are attached 
six stamens fkj surrounding three linear stigmas fij, whose filaments are con- 
tinued down the floral tube to its base, where they communicate with a three-celled 
germen or ovary (h) containing the ovules or undeveloped seeds. No sooner 
have the anthers performed their office of fertilization on the stigmas than the 
corolla fades, withers, and dies off ; the young bulb becomes swollen, its roots burst 
through their membranous covering, and protrude downwards. Throughout the 
winter it absorbs, through the lateral attaching fibres, the greater portion of the 
parent bulb, the surplus of which subsequently decomposes. The nutriment thus 
stored up remains dormant during the winter months, and until the first warming 
breezes of spring again stimulate into motion the vital juices, when the hitherto 
buried germen, protected from frost or accident by its several coats, is pushed 
upwards to the surface, the fully developed capsule (I), surrounded by shining 
green leaves, displays itself, and, on becoming fully matured, opens its inflated 
cells (m), scattering the seeds over the earth. The leaves also, in their turn, 

ed from the parent bulb — e, exterior and interior views of the young plant, divested of 
the spatha, and showing the undeveloped leaves — f, exterior and interior views of the 
young plant, showing the floral tubes, the reserve blossom, and the embryonic germ — o, 
the floral tube opened, showing the positions of the anthers, pistils, &c h, the pistils di- 
vested from the floral tubes, exhibiting their connections with gei - men and bulb — i, the 
appearance of the plant in the spring. 

a, the cormus, or solid bulb — b, the groove in which the young plant lies — c, the bundle 
of lateral attaching fibres — d, the young bulb — e, the spatha— /, the young leaves — g, the 
embryonic bulb — h, the germen — i, the stigmas — k, the anthers — /, the developed germen 
— m, the fully ripened capsule — n, the reserve blossom — o, transverse section of the ger- 
men, h. 



271 



now wither away, and the embryo germ or bud is, by a similar process, carried 
forward to maturity. 

In using the term " solid bulb" in the above description, I would wish it to 
be clearly understood that I only avail myself of the common botanical phrase 
expressive of the peculiar kind of bulb of this and similar plants ; for I am fully 
convinced, by observations which I have recently made, that no such thing as a 
solid bulb, strictly speaking, exists in nature. Every bulb is, in fact, a bud, in 
which the stem enveloped in the leaves is, like the cylindrical tubes of a closed 
telescope, depressed into the plane of its axis. The scales or tunics of which every 
bulb consists are, in reality, so many leaves modified and swollen by excess of 
nutritive matter, and many of them bearing in their axils smaller bulbs, the unde- 
veloped buds of future plants. This is abundantly evident from a mere inspection 
of the Crocus bulb (Fig. 2, a)* usually cited as an example of the solid bulb, but 
which in reality consists of the base of the stem much swollen, enveloped by a 
series of swollen and modified leaves closely agglutinated and concentrically over- 
lapping each other (Fig. 2, a), and supporting in their axils a series of embry- 
onic bulbs or buds (Fig. 2, b) spirally arranged. On tracing these concentric 
leaves throughout the bulb to its summit, it will be found that the shoot or shoots 
(Fig. 2, c) destined to produce flowers, &c, in the present year, are one or more 
of these embryonic bulbs more highly developed than the rest. In these shoots, 
also, the same concentric arrangement of the leaves will be found to exist. The 
bulb of the Colchicum autumnale (Fig. 3),-j- usually adduced as another instance 
of this form of bulb, is of a similar construction, though at first view very differ- 
ent. The stem in this case is excessively and immoderately swollen, the envelop- 
ing leaves so firmly agglutinated as to be only distinguishable in a thickened 
scale or protrusion (Fig. 3, a) immediately below the young bulb (Fig. 3, b), 
which maintains its proper place in the axil ; and in those instances in which a 
second embryonic bulb occurs, this is invariably in such a situation that a line 
drawn from the first embryonic bulb to it will form a portion of a spiral. This, 
in short, is the mode of growth we might naturally expect in these plants, belong- 
ing as they do to the great natural class of Monocotyledons — a growth perfectly 
analogous, although performed in a shorter period, to that of the Palms, and other 
tropical tribes of this class. 

The benevolent Paley adduces the unusual periods of the autumnal flowering 
and vernal ripening of the seeds of the Colchicum autumnale, as an apt illustra- 
tion of his doctrine of compensation. No apology may be deemed necessary for 
repeating his exquisite and well-remembered words : — " 1 have pitied," he says, 

* a, bulb of the Crocus — a, the leaves swollen into concentric scales — I, the embryonic 
bulbs in the axils of the leaves — c, the embryonic bulbs developed into flowering shoots. 

•f a, bulb of the Colchicum — a, the leaves swollen into thickened scales or protrusions — b, 
the young bulbs and stems in the axils of the leaves. 



272 

* this poor plant a thousand times. Its blossom rises out of the ground in the 
most forlorn condition possible ; without a sheath, a fence, a calyx, or even a leaf to 
protect it ; and that not in spring, not to be visited by summer suns, but under all 
the disadvantages of the declining year. When we come, however, to look more 
closely into the structure of this plant, we find that, instead of its being neglected, 
nature has gone out of her course to provide for its security, and to make up to 
it for all its defects. The seed-vessel, which in other plants is situated within the 
cup of the flower, or just beneath it, in this plant lies ten or twelve inches under 
ground within the bulbous root. The tube of the flower, which is seldom more 
than a few tenths of an inch long, in this plant extends down to the root. The 
styles always reach the seed-vessel ; but it is in this, by an elongation unknown to 
any other plant. All these singularities contribute to one end. In the autumn 
nothing is done above ground but the business of impregnation. The maturation 
of the impregnated seed, which in other plants proceeds within a capsule, exposed 
together with the rest of the flower to the open air, is here carried on, and during 
the whole winter within the heart of the earth. Seeds, though perfected, would be 
unable to vegetate at this depth in the earth. A second admirable provision is 
therefore made to raise them above the surface ; the germ grows up in the spring, 
upon a fruit stalk, accompanied with leaves. The seeds now, in common with 
those of other plants, have the benefit of the summer, and are sown upon the sur- 
face." 

From the outline here exhibited of the vital economy and peculiar structure of 
this plant, it is conceived, that, without overstraining the subject, the argument 
may be carried some steps further, and that we may reasonably infer that there is 
design in the mode of its flowering ; in the provision made for its reproduction, in 
case of the germen remaining unfertilized ; and also, in the relative position of the 
embryonic germ or bulb. 

First. — There is evidence of design in the mode of flowering. The delicate 
flowers expanding their petals, as the harbingers of winter, without the protection 
of leaves or other envelope, exposed to the ungenial influence of a changeful sea- 
son, when scarcely any other plant ventures to blossom, run many risks of being 
prevented from attaining their destined end, either from the nipping keenness of 
early frosts, the rude and crushing tread of cattle feeding on the pasturage in which 
they grow, or the playful and innocent wantonness of heedless childhood cropping 
the. showy blossoms to deck their baby-toys. Nature here, therefore, steps in and 
provides a remedy. For, unlike most other plants, this does not expand all its 
blossoms at the same time, but reserves, as it were, a portion, to be resorted to only 
in cases of necessity. Should injury overtake it in its prime of beauty, a second 
flower is provided, which, supplied with nutriment from the parent-bulb, is pushed 
forward and takes the place of its unfortunate predecessor. Should this also 
be destroyed, a third floret (Fig. 1, n) is often visible at the base of the other two, 



273 

which, absorbing the requisite nutriment, becomes developed, expands its petals to 
the genial though feeble sunshine, and thus, at length, effects the fertilization of 
the ovules. 

Secondly. — There is evidence of design manifested in the provision made for 
the continuance of the individual. Should it so happen that all the blossoms were 
successively cut off, and the very existence of the plant apparently threatened with 
destruction, that Beneficent Power, whose fiat first called it into existence, here di- 
minishes not his protecting care. The nutriment, destined for the complete de- 
velopment and perfection of the inflorescence and germen, being no longer 
wanted for those purposes, is diverted to the enlargement of the young bulb of 
the present year, on which, safely cradled amid the tender leaves, reposes the em- 
bryonic germ, (g), which in its turn, also receives the invigorating influences of 
its parent, and in due time proceeds to its destination. 

Lastly. — There is full evidence of design in the relative positions of this em- 
bryonic germ and the parent bulb. As before shown, this germ always appears on 
the side of the bulb of the present year, which is farthest removed from the pa- 
rent bulb. It is a well-known fact, (no matter as regards our present argument, 
whether attributable to exhaustion, excretion, or any other cause,) that the soil in 
which any particular plant has vegetated, becomes less adapted for the immediately 
subsequent growth of other individuals of the same species. Now, had the embryo 
bulb been attached to the side next the parent bulb, there is a probability that it 
would either have entirely perished, or, at all events, have become of a weak and 
sickly habit, in consequence of the inability of vegetating in a suitable and unex- 
hausted soil, or from having its vital powers destroyed or impaired by the heat ne- 
cessarily evolved during the decomposition of the parent-bulb. And this, in fact, 
really does take place, for in some strong bulbs which have been examined, 
a second embryonic germ occasionally occurs on the side in immediate con- 
tact with the parent bulb, as well as one on the opposite side. This, however, 
so far as has been observed, is seldom or never developed beyond the first stage 
of growth ; the vital activity being in all probability checked by one or other of 
the causes above assigned. 

These are no visionary speculations, but plain and simple facts, clear and de- 
monstrable to all. They are in themselves eloquent : they require no index to 
point out to us that " Great Workmaster" to whom they would lead our thoughts ; 
nor need they, it is humbly hoped, any stimulus to excite in our hearts feelings of 
gratitude and adoration. 

" This must, however, be understood with some latitude ; for in very strong bulbs the 
second embryonic bulb does often become fully developed : but in this case its position will 
be found to be, not in immediate contact with the parent bulb, but rather on one side. 

VOL. I. 2 N 



ST. JAMES'S ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY. 

We have received a prospectus of this society, the object of which is stated to 
be the " forming a collection of water-birds in the garden of St. James's Park ; 
and its operations will subsequently be extended to other parks, if the funds of 
the society be found sufficient." As naturalists, every project of this nature has 
our sincere wishes for its success, and perhaps, as the moderate subscription of 
one pound is all that is required, some of our readers may be pleased to take the 
opportunity of assisting an institution which will doubtless afford facilities for " ob- 
servations upon the variations and periodical change of plumage, which are so in- 
teresting to naturalists." The names of Yarrell, Swainson, Mudie, and Jesse, so 
well known in the scientific world, are a pledge that some useful purpose is designed 
by, and will be obtained from, the " Ornithological Society." But if purposes of 
show only were intended we should still advocate the plan as a probable means of 
raising the standard of taste among the lower orders in London, who may now, 
perhaps, for the first time observe the members of the feathered tribes without 
the mischievous wish to pelt them being gratified. Much has been done by the 
present age in this respect, and all we want is to see the principle carried out to 
its fullest extent, so that animals may be seen, admired, and examined, without the 
insane wish to bait, torture, or injure them. The birds in St. James's Park will 
have this advantage, that they will be " open to the view of all classes of the 
people" every day, and thus even the poor mechanic and his family, shut out from 
light and almost hope for a dreary week, may, in the intervals of public worship 
on Sundays, solace their eyes with a sight which no philanthropist would wish 
them to be deprived of. Living specimens, we perceive, of any of the rarer 
swans, geese, ducks, divers, grebes, waders, &c, will be very acceptable to the 
society, to whom we can only say " Go on and prosper." 



REVIEW. 

Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons ; illustrating the Perfections of God in the 
Phenomena of the Year. Part I. : Winter. By the Rev. Henry Duncan, 
D.D. Edinburgh. 1836. 

The author of this work furnishes a beautiful instance of one who is " not 
weary in well-doing," but who has been continually " going about doing good." 
After devoting many years in the earlier part of his life to ensure to the poorer 
classes of his countrymen the benefits of habits of prudence and economy, by 



275 

means of Saving Banks, he now comes forward to confer upon the minds of his 
countrymen of every rank a boon of equal, if not greater value. He desires to 
engender in them a habit of viewing all the natural occurrences of the year as 
evidences of the being and attributes of an Omnipotent and Benevolent Deity. 
He wisely coincides in opinion with Dr. Paley, that " if one train of thinking be 
more desirable than another, it is that which regards the phenomena of Nature 
with a constant reference to a Supreme Intelligent Author." 

It has been well said by an elegant American writer, that " the study of Na- 
ture, like the contemplations of religion, is * for ever rising with the rising mind.' 
Nature opens to Genius that immense horizon, in which, to the end of time, it 
may exercise its strength, and at every step behold the boundary receding to a 
greater distance." But how much greater the pleasures and advantages when the 
study of Nature and the contemplations of religion are united ! To express this, 
we must call in the aid of the poet : — 

" There is a lofty thrilling joy — 

The bounded powers of speech it spurns — 
Which lightens in the raptured eye, 

And in the swelling bosom burns : 
'Tis that ineffable delight, 

When, like the glorious lord of day, 
The soul, exulting in its might, 

Speeds through the realms of thought away. 

* When soaring, limitless, afar, 

Wide through the universe it strays, 
Till not the feeblest twinkling star 

On Night's swart brow escapes its gaze. 
But higher far its strong wing soars 

In loftier and sublimer flight, 
When in rapt trances it adores 

The very God of Life and Light !" 

Nor is it in connexion with natural religion alone, that the amiable author 
treats his subject : the bearings of it upon revealed religion are equally pointed 
out, in a manner as creditable to his liberality of mind as to his piety. The fol- 
lowing extract will exemplify our meaning : — 

" Would we read the book of Nature aright, and see God in his creation, we 
must have recourse to the book of Revelation ; for these two great volumes, 
written by the same hand and for a similar purpose, cast a strong light upon each 
other. As the book of Nature, by the visible impress of Divinity stamped upon 
it, is fitted to prepare us for the more glorious display of the divine perfections 
contained in the book of Revelation — so is this latter the truest and safest guide 
to the profitable perusal of the former. In the Bible, the great productions and 

2 n2 



27G 

aspects of Nature are always mentioned in connection with the glory of God : 
they are introduced often in . strains of the boldest poetry, to teach the infinite 
power and goodness of Jehovah. We there find the noblest descriptions of natu- 
ral objects ever penned ; and one great moral runs through them all. Every 
masterly picture of the grand or the beautiful in Nature is but a delineation of 
God's wondrous attributes. It is, therefore, a positive duty, sublimely taught us 
both by precept and example, to cherish a sense of the infinite skill and bounty 
displayed in the creation. We should associate, with all that attracts the eye by 
its beauty or excites our admiration by its delicate structure, the liveliest expres- 
sions of adoration and gratitude. Every survey of natural scenery, every exami- 
nation of even the smallest of God's works, should be to us a devotional exercise. 
To a mind accustomed to consecrate all its perceptions of beauty and design to the 
inward worship of God, every mountain and field, every leaf and flower, teems 
with instruction. The lustrous wing of the ephemeral insect, as well as the 
noblest animal form, affords food for the loftiest admiration. The man of true 
piety and refined feeling enjoys the beauties of Nature with the keenest relish ; 
for Nature is but a pictured volume, in which he reads the character of the 
Divinity. Every object that meets his eye — be it vast or minute, simple or com- 
plex — suggests the most exalted conceptions of Him 

" Who gives its lustre to an insect's wing, 

And wheels his throne upon the rolling worlds." — pp. 169 — 170. 

In respect to the scientific details, they are gleaned from the best authorities, 
generally from very recent ones. The Bridgewater Treatises have supplied much 
of the materials ; and, indeed, as far as natural phenomena are concerned, what- 
ever was available for his purpose in these bulky and expensive volumes has, by 
our author, been brought together and placed within the limits of the purse, as 
well as the time, of ordinary readers. When completed it will form an excellent 
epitome of these treatises, and be more in accordance with what we are persuaded 
was the intention of the noble testator than the plan adopted by those who under- 
took to give effect to his will. The author says, modestly, " The most important 
and animating views of the Creator and His operations, in reference to the seasons, 
are found scattered through many publications, which it has been the agreeable 
task of the writer to combine in a new series and render generally accessible. In 
doing this he has frequently quoted the precise words of the various authors from 
whom he has borrowed his facts. He has no ambition to acquire fame as an 
original writer ; his more humble, but perhaps not less useful, aim being to in- 
struct and edify those who may not be in possession of many works on Natural 
Theology, by rendering them acquainted with the discoveries which have been 
made by others in the most interesting of all sciences." — Preface, iii. 



277 

In a few instances we have noted slight inaccuracies, such as, p. 121, the 
spadisc of the Arum cordifoliwm is stated to exhibit a rise of 250° above the 
surrounding temperature — a thing obviously impossible. P. 215, the traveller in 
America after whom the river was named was Alexander (not George) McKenzie. 
P. 107, newly-distilled dew should be nevfly-deposited dew. 

In discussing the seeming imperfections in the physical government of the 
universe, the author has recourse to the doctrine of the philosophic poet, which 
alone can obtain the acquiescence of reflecting and good men : — 

" 'Tis but a part we see, and not the whole ;" 

and still more in the moral 

" All partial evil, universal good." 

" Nor must we forget that the schemes of the self-existent are notbounded by 
time but embrace eternity. In the present world, the moral government of 
God is only begun. That may appear imperfect and disordered of which we 
only see a part, when, if the whole were displayed and understood, every minute 
particular, and the united result of the whole, would be found to be the perfection 
of wisdom." — p. 105. 

We had marked many other passages for quotation which our limits will not 
permit us to adduce ; we can only quote one, and must content ourselves with 
stating that we eagerly long for the subsequent parts, as we consider it the most 
delightful — we may truly say fascinating — work it has been our lot to meet with 
for a very long time. We give this particular passage because it is new as well 
as strikingly true, and will serve to shew how much the world has lost in the con- 
versations and casual observations of Burns not having been preserved by some 
discriminating person. Indeed, there is great reason to believe that the best 
sentiments of that remarkable man have perished. 

" While yet a school-boy, I enjoyed an opportunity of hearing, in my father's 
manse, a conversation between the poet Burns and another poet, my near relation, 
the amiable Blacklock. The subject was the fidelity of the Dog. Burns took 
up the question with all the ardour and kindly feeling with which the conversation 
of that extraordinary man was so remarkably embued. The anecdotes by which 
it was illustrated have long escaped my memory ; but there was one sentiment 
expressed by Burns, with his own characteristic enthusiasm, which, as it threw a 
new light into my mind, I shall never forget. ' Man,' said he, ' is the god of the 
Dog : he knows no other ; he can understand no other. And see how he worships 
him ! — with what reverence he crouches at his feet — with what love he fawns upon 
him — with what dependence he looks up to him — and with what cheerful alacrity 



278 

he obeys him. His whole soul is wrapped up in his god ; all the powers and 
faculties of his nature are devoted to his service ; and these powers and faculties 
are ennobled by the intercourse. Divines tell us that it ought just to be so with 
the Christian ; but the Dog puts the Christian to shame.' The truth of these 
remarks, which forcibly struck me at the time, have since been verified by expe- 
rience ; and often have events occurred which, while they reminded me that ' Man 
is the god of the Dog,' have forced from me the humiliating confession that ' the 
Dog puts the Christian to shame.' " — p. 308. 

When the author shall have treated of the respective seasons which complete 
the cycle of the year, he may appropriately sum up his arguments and case in the 
words of a young, but most promising, poet : — 

" Cyril had learned to worship and obey 
The God whose mercy gave each passing day : 
Nature beamed forth in smiles and happy glee ; 
All else rejoiced, and wherefore should not he ? 
Earth was his temple, and the boundless sky, 
Glitt'ring with gem-like stars, its canopy ; 
His books the hills and valleys ; and his prayers 
A hush of holy peace, as eloquent as theirs. 

" Who that hath wandered in the beauteous hour 
When dusky twilight shares with night her power — 
When weeping dews the thirsty valleys fill — 
And mists are rolling down each darkened hill — 
When birds are hushed — when toil and labour cease- 
When heaven and earth are universal peace — 
And, though no sound pervade the solemn air, 
The very silence is replete with prayer ; 
Breathing from flood, and field, and mountains rude, 
The voiceless orisons of gratitude ; — 
Who that hath felt this hour's deep eloquence — 
Who that hath life's most ordinary sense — 
Who that can move, think, feel, or understand — . 
Can doubt the power of an Almighty Hand ? 
Go, read the stones upon the rugged hill ; 
Go, list the music of the singing rill ; 
Go, learn from ocean, forest, field, and flower, 
The infinite wisdom of Eternal Power. 
All have their language and alike upraise, 
In one continual round, Jehovah's praise.* 

* Cyril ; a Poem. By George Wilson, Leeds. 1835. 



EXTRACTS FROM FOREIGN SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS. 



Geological. 

Upon Fossil Infusoria, by C. G. Ehrenberg. 

M. C. Fischer, the proprietor of the manufactory of porcelain at Pirkenham- 
mer, near Carlsbad, has observed that the substance resembling siliceous concrete 
( Kieselguhr ) , which occurs in the peat bogs near Franzensbad, in Bohemia, 
" consists almost exclusively of the cases of several species of Navicular, and ap- 
pears to be the fire-proof remains of the (in parts) intensely heated bottom of the 
ocean." 

Together with this information M. Fischer sent me a piece of the siliceous 
mass about 2" long, 1" broad, and |" high, as well as some specimens of the peat, 
intreating me to ascertain the animal and to publish the result. Microscopic in- 
spection immediately confirmed the discovery of M. Fischer, that the siliceous 
concrete (Kieselguhr J of Franzensbad consisted almost exclusively of very well 
preserved Naviculce, with which some Bacillariee were intermixed, and the per- 
fect transparency of their siliceous cases and their freedom from all organic matter, 
renders it probable that an unusually intense heat had purified them and amassed 
them together. It is not likely that they should have originated at the bottom of 
the sea, for the majority of the animals both in form and the relative numbers of their 
striae correspond very accurately with those of the Nav. viridis, which is found in 
all the fresh water about Berlin as well as elsewhere. In the specimens of peat I 
could also recognise Naviculce, yet they were generally different, although still ex- 
isting species, fewer in relative proportion, and the prevailing forms very dissimilar. 

Original specimens of the siliceous concrete (Kieselguhr) of the Isle of 
France, and of Santa Fiora, in Tuscany, which were analyzed by Klaproth, shewed 
that they likewise consisted almost exclusively of the envelopes of Infusoria of 
several genera of Bacillariee, yet sometimes of the same, and almost all still living, 
species, in conjunction with rare siliceous spicula of fresh and sea- water sponges, 
without any intervenient binding material. This, therefore, is an additional con- 
firmation of Kiitzing's discovery that the cases of the Bacillariee consist of silica. 

I myself discovered, several years ago, that the ochraceous slimy substance, 
which sometimes covers the bottom of marshy brooks and moats, and which ap- 
pears to have been considered as a deposit of the oxyde of iron, is a very delicate 
Bacillaria, which at a red heat becomes red like the oxyde of iron, and is very fer- 
ruginous, but which does not lose its form either by a red heat or upon being treated 
with acids, and consequently possesses a siliceous case most approaching to that of 
the genus Gaillonella. I therefore figured it last year, as Gaillonella ferruginea 
in plate 10 of my Infusorien Codex, which will now soon appear. All the ochre 



280 

encompassing bog-iron ore exhibits the same siliceous filiments as a deposit after 
the extraction of the iron. The above circumstances make it probable that the G. 
ferruginea played an important part in the formation of bog-iron, either by the direct 
amount of its own iron, or by the attraction of all in its vicinity. 

The following are the fossil species of Infusoria which T have detected in the 
above-named substances : — 

1. In the siliceous concrete (Kieselguhr) of Franzensbad: — 1, Navicula 
viridis of very different sizes, the largest l-9th'" forming the major part of the mass ; 
2, N. gibba ; 3, N. fulva ; 4, N. Librile ; 5, N. striatula ; 6, N. viridula — 
(the last two are salt-water animals, all the first are inhabitants of fresh water) ; 
7, Gomphonema paradoxum ; 8, G. clavatum ; 9, Gaillonella varians ? All 
fresh-water animals, and none to be distinguished from the living species. 

2. In the peat of Franzensbad: — 1, Navicula granulata is the most nume- 
rous, and wa*s hitherto unknown ; 2, Nav. viridis, rare ; 3, Baccillaria vulgaris ? 
4, Gomphonema paradoxum ; 5, Coccone'is undulata. All living animals, the 
last found in the salt-water of the Baltic. 

3. In the mountain flour (JBergmehl) of Santa Fiora : — 1, Synedra capitata, 
forming the chief mass, an hitherto unknown form ; 2, S. ulna ; 3, Navicula 
Librile; 4, N. gibba; 5, N. viridis; 6, N. capitata; 7, N. zebra; 8, N. 
phcenicenteron ; 9, N. inequalis, alt still living in fresh water ; 10, N. viridula, 
found still in salt-water ; 11, N. granulata; 12, N. Jbllis, unknown species. 
13, Gomphonema clavatum ; 14, G. paradoxum ; 15, G. acuminatum, all still 
found in fresh water ; 16, Cocconema cymbiforme, a still existing fresh-water 
animal; 17, Coccone'is undulata, still found in salt water; 18, Gaillonella ita- 
lica, n. sp. ; 19, the siliceous spicula of a Spongia or Spongilla. 

4. Klaproth's siliceous concrete (Kieselguhr) from the Isle of France 
exhibited : — 1, Bacillaria vulgaris ? constituting the chief mass, and is still found 
every where in salt water ; 2, B. major, an unknown species ; 3, Navic. 
gibba, still living both in fresh and salt water ; 4, Navic. alia sp. undeter- 
mined ; 5, N. bifrous. All these animals are not so well preserved as those in 
the former rocks, and appear, with the exception of the latter, to be salt-water 
animals. 

The majority of these fossil Infusoria are still found living near Berlin, and in 
the waters of the Baltic near Wismar. The majority are so well preserved that 
they may be closely inspected. Thus, for instance, it is not only possible to count 
the number of the ribs, but also the six apertures of the case of Navicula viri- 
dis, the four apertures of Gaillonella, the two apertures of Gomphonema, &c. 
The rock of the Isle of France only, appears to contain a preponderance of salt- 
water animals. The few hitherto unknown forms may be considered very appropri- 
ately as still existing, although yet undiscovered animals. What is most striking is 
the preponderance of individual species which thereby characterize the different rocks, 



281 

for instance, the Navic. viridis in the siliceous concrete ( Kieselguhr) of Franzens- 
bad, Bacillaria vulgaris in that of the Isle of France, and Synedra capitata in the 
pulverulent silica (Bergmehl) of Santa Fiora. The still existing ones are more 
mixed, and live only about, and on plants upon which they feed. 

The foliaceous triopoli of shops (Bldttertripel) likewise showed that its mass 
equally consisted of Infusoria. The polishing slate of Bilin in Bohemia, which 
forms entire beds, I have discovered to consist almost exclusively of Infusoria which 
may be ascribed to the genus Gaillonella ( G. distans) Podosphenia nana, n. sp. 
Navic. scalprum $ and Bacillaria vulgaris, (the last are still living, salt-water 
animalculae) present themselves only occasionally, the first alone is sometimes in 
equal abundance with the Gaillonella. There are found in the same polishing 
slate, the impressions of plants and an extinct species of fish, the Leuciscus pa- 
pyraceus of Bronn, according to Agassiz. In the adhesive slate of Menilmon.- 
tant I found only the doubtful traces of the altered Gaillonella distans. An indi- 
vidual of this species, which forms almost without any connecting substance 
the polishing slate, is 1-200'" larger, many are smaller, and one cubic inch of 
this stone contains 41,000,000,000 (! ! Eds.) of these animals. 



Entomological. 
Abstract of Count Mannerheim's Paper on the Family of the 

COLEOPTERA BrACHELYTRA. 

(From Oken's " Isis," 1836. Heft 5 J. 
Brachelytra, Lair. (Microptera, Grav.J 

Antennae thickened towards the apex, often moniliform, rarely serrate or cla- 
vate, and the clava never perfoliate or lamellate ; the body generally elongate, 
narrow ; elytra abbreviated, large in the majority, small in a few, and in very 
many covering one-half of the abdomen ; the anus furnished with retractile 
vesicles. 

A. Labrum emarginate. — Tribe I. Staphylinides* 
b. Labrum entire. 

*. Tarsi pentamerous. 

i. All the joints of the palpi distinct. 

1. Antennae inserted in front of the eyes. 
* Legs simple. — Tribe IV. Omalides. 
** Legs spinose. — Tribe V. Tachinides. 

VOL. I. 2 o 



2. Antennae inserted opposite the inner margin of the eyes. — Tribe 
VI. Aleocharides. 
II. The last joint of the palpi concealed. — Tribe II. Stenides. 
6. Tarsi trimerous or tetramerous. — Tribe III. Oxytelides. 

Tribe I. Staphylinides ( Fissilabra ) . 

The antennae inserted either in front or between the eyes ; labrum emarginate ; 
the palpi short, filiform, all the joints distinct ; the head separated from the thorax 
by a distinct neck ; the abdomen, when alive, stretched lengthwise ; the legs ge- 
nerally spinose ; the tarsi pentamerous. 
i. Labial palpi securiform. 

a. The maxillary palpi filiform ; the antennae short, increasing towards the apex, 

with the six last joints dilated and compressed ; the mandibles porrect, 
very forcipate, and about as long as the head. 
Genus I. — Oxyporus, Fab. rufus, maxillosus, Schoenherrii, Manner- 
heimii. 4. 

b. The maxillaiy palpi securiform ; the antennae longer, filiform, much shorter 

than the head, not porrect. 
Genus II. — Astrap^eus, Lat. Ulmi. 1. 
II. All the palpi filiform. 

A. Antennae inserted between the eyes, behind the mandibles and labrum. 
1. The anterior tarsi dilated, either in both sexes or only in the males. 
*. The thorax much wider than the elytra, orbicular, anteriorly sub-trun- 
cated, laterally much widened ; the fourth to the tenth joints of the 
antennae internally produced, serrate, the terminal one narrower and 
sub-acuminate. 
Genus III. — Velleius, Leach. Dilatatus. 1. 
0. Thorax semi-orbiculato-quadrate. 

a. Antennae short, the five terminal joints broader, transverse, the last 

obliquely truncated above and sub-foreolate ; the head and thorax 
smooth. 
Genus IV. — Creophilus, Kirby. Maxillosus, variegatus. 2. 

b. The antennae, with the six last joints, shorter, sub-transverse, the 

terminal one obliquely truncated and sub-emarginate. 
Genus V. — Emus, Leach, hirtus, nebulosus, speciosus, chrysocephalus, 
pubescens, murinus, inauratus. 7. 

y. Thorax longer than broad, rounded behind ; the fourth to the tenth 
joints of the antennae equal and lenticular. 
a. The collar much narrower than the head. 

* The last joint of the antenna laterally obliquely truncated, sub- 
emarginate. 



Genus VI. — Staphylinus, Auct. Chrysocomus, erythropterus, castanop- 
terus, stercorarius, dauricus, erythropennis, bimaculatus, lutarius, cinnamopterus, 
badius, aeneocephalus, chalcocephalus, aeneicollis, olens, azurescens, cyaneus, simi- 
lis, morio, sub-punctatus, uralensis, praelongus, erythropus, brunnipes, splendens, 
laminatus, tristis, fuliginosus, molochinus, variabilis, scitus, laevigatas, impressus, 
rufocinctus, picipes, maurus, maurorufus, praecox, attenuatus, boops, subuliformis, 
eeneus, nitidus, caeruleipennis, decorus, cyanicornis, politus, fuscipennis, lucens, 
atratus, carbonarius, rigidicornis, cephalotes, varius, marginatus, fimetarius, sordi- 
dus, sub-fuscus, albipes, fuscus, nitidulus, discoideus, vernalis, ventralis, quisqui- 
liarius, ochropus, ebeninus, immundus, sanguinolentus, dimidiatus, bipustulatus, 
opacus, agilis, varians, irregularis, fulvipes, micans, virgo, punctus, multipuncta- 
tus, cinerescens. 80. 

** The last joint of the antennae entire. 

Genus VII. — Cafius, Leach, xanthomelana, nanus, splendidulus, pumi- 
lus, aterrimus, nigritulus. 6. 

b. The collar swollen, scarcely narrower than the head. 

Genus VIII. — Physetops. tartaricus. 
2. The anterior tarsi simple in both sexes. 

Genus IX. — Gyrohypnus, Kirby ( Xaniholinus, Dahl.) Longiceps, 
ochraceus, batychrus, punctulatus, parumguttatus, lentus, tricolor, pyropterus, 
fulminans, pilicornis, nigriceps, alternans, parvulus, linearis, melanocephalus, 
procerulus, planatus. 17. 

b. Antennae inserted in front of the eyes, in a process of the head, behind the 

labrum, at the inner base of the mandibles. 

1. The collar narrow; the head large, petiolated, posteriorly truncated. 
Genus X — Eulissus, Mann, chalybaeus. 1. 

2. The collar swollen, scarcely to be distinguished from the head. 
Genus XI — Platyprosopus, Mann. (MetopiusJ. elongatus. 1. 

c. Antennae inserted in front of the eyes, beyond the labrum, at the base of 

the mandibles. 

1. Bodily slightly convex ; the thorax linear, quadrangular. 

«. The antennae not geniculated ; the last joint of the tarsi longer than the 
preceding. 
Genus XII. — Lathrobium, Grav. elongatum, fulvipenne, rufipenne, 
punctulatum, multipunctum, brunnipes, lineare, minutum, quadratum, terminatum. 
10. 

0. The antennae geniculated ; the first joint of the tarsi longer than the 
following. 
Genus XIII. — Cryptobium, Mann, fracticorne. 1. 

2. The body depressed ; the thorax trapeziform ; the last joint of the tarsi 

longer than the preceding. 

2o2 



284 

Genus XIV. — Achenium, Leach. Depressum. 1 

Tribe II. — Stenides (Longipalpi, Lat.) 

The antennae inserted either between or in front of the eyes ; the labrum 
truncated, transverse ; the maxillary palpi almost as long as the head, the last 
joint subulate, withdrawn, and concealed ; the head with a distinct neck ; the ab- 
domen, in the living insect, generally stretched lengthwise ; the legs simple ; the 
tarsi pentamerous. 

i. The antennae inserted before the eyes, thickened towards the apex. 

A. The fourth joint of the tarsi bifid. 
Genus I. — Pjederus, Auct. morio, littoralis, riparius, ruficollis, longius- 
culus, extensus, angustatus. 7. 

b. The fourth joint of the tarsi entire. 
Genus II — Rugilus, Leach ( Stilicus, Latr.) orbiculatus, laevigatas, fus- 
culus, bicolor, castaneus, rubricollis. 6. 

ii. The antennae inserted in front of the eyes and thickened suddenly at the 

apex. 
Genus III. — Eristhetus ( Evwsthetus, Grav.). scaber. 
in. The antennae inserted between the eyes and thickened suddenly at the 
apex. 
A. The ligula obsolete; the anus with two setae. 

Genus IV Dianous, Leach, caerulescens. 1. 

b. The ligula extended. The anus without setae. 
Genus V. — Stenus, Latr. bipustulatus, maurus, juno, ater, boops, cicinde- 
oides, oculatus, tarsalis, binotatus, bifoveolatus, buphthalmus, canaliculars, niger, 
nigritulus, geniculatus, proboscideus, pallipes, argus, fuscipes, opticus, carbonarius, 
circularis. 22. 

Tribe III. — Oxytelides ( Denticrura, Latr.) 

The antennae inserted in front of the eyes, beneath an elevated and prominent 
margin of the head. The labrum transverse and entire. The palpi shorter than 
the head, the joints distinct and the terminal one subulate. The head with a dis- 
tinct neck. The abdomen in the living insect only partially stretched lengthwise. 
The anterior tibiae only compressed, and generally externally denticulato-pectin- 
ated. The tarsi trimerous or tetramerous. 

i. The four anterior tibiae denticulato-pectinated. 
A. All the tibiae entire. 

Genus I. — Bledius, Leach., ( Siagona, Prognatha, Latr.) tricornis, tau- 
rus, unicornis, elongatus, fracticornis, castaneipennis, atricapillus, pallipes, femora- 
11s, talpa, arenarius. 11. 



285 

B. The two or four anterior tibiae externally excised. 

a. The posterior tibia? likewise denticulato-pectinated. The body short, 
much broader in front. 
Genus II. — Platysthetus, Mann, cornutus, morsetans, nodifrons. 3. 

0. The posterior tibiae simple. The body elongate, sublinear. 

Genus III. — Oxytelus, Grav. carinatus, piceus, longicornis, sculptura- 
tus, depressus, Americanus, nitidulus, pusillus, caelatus. 9. 
ii. All the tibiae simple. 
Genus IV. — Trogophl.s;us, Mann, corticinus. 1. 

Tribe IV. — Omalides (Depressa, Latr.). 

The antenna? inserted in front of the eyes, beneath an elevated and prominent 
margin of the head. The labrum transverse entire. The palpi short, with dis- 
tinct joints, the last minute, conico-acuminate. The head with a distinct neck. 
The abdomen, in the living insect, flat ; the legs simple ; the tarsi pentamerous. 
I. The last joint of the tarsi elongate ; the rest collectively generally equal. 

A. The four anterior tarsi dilated and spongy. 
Genus I. — Phloeocharis, Mann. Subtilissima. 1. 
b. All the tarsi simple. 

1. The penultimate joint of the maxillary palpi dilated, the terminal one 

small and subulated. 
Genus II. T^enosoma, Mann, gracile, pusillum. 2. 

2. The terminal joint of the maxillary palpi conical and subacuminate. 
*. Antennae thickened towards the extremity. 

a. The body short ; the thorax short, transverse, not narrower behind ; 

the elytra covering the major portion of the abdomen. 
Genus III. — Omalium, Grav. boreale, consimile, rotundicolle, piceum, 
assimile, inflatum, pygmaeum, sibiricum, quadrum, fimetarium, tectum, ranunculi, 
lapponicum, ophthalmicum, sorbi, depressum. 16. 

b. The body oblong ; the thorax short, transverse, somewhat narrowed 

posteriorly ; the abdomen generally twice as long as the elytra. 
Genus IV. — Anthobium, Mann, rivulare, caesum, oxyacantha?, exiguura, 
pusillum, planum, viburni, florale, nigrum, Gyllenhalli, salicis, salicinum, brunne- 
um, deplanatum, striatum. 15. 

/S. The antenna? filiform ; the body oblong ; the thorax, both before and 
behind, narrowed and rounded. 
Genus V. — Acidota, Kirby. rufa, cruentata, crenata. 3. 
ii. The last joint of the tarsi either as long, or a little longer, than the 
preceding. 



286 

A. The last joint of the maxillary palpi sub-acuminate, slightly less than the 
preceding ; the antennae filiform. 

Genus VI. — Lesteva, Latr. ( AntJwphagus, Grav.). dichroa, testacea, 
caraboides, angusticollis, lapponica, alpina, plagiata, globulicollis, longipes, obscura, 
longula, pubescens. 12. 

b. The maxillary palpi subulate, the penultimate joint incrasscted, the apical 

slender, aciculate. 
Genus VII. — Proteinus, Latr. brachypterus, minutus. 2. 

c. The maxillary palpi subulate, the second joint much the largest. The an- 
tenna? clavate, the 10th and 11th joints forming a large globose knob. 

Genus VIII. — Micropeplus, Latr. porcatus, staphylinoides. 2. 

Tribe V. — Tachinides ( Microcephala, Lat.) 

The antenna? inserted in front of the eyes, but never beneath a prominent or 
elevated margin of the head ; the labrum rotundate ; the palpi short, the terminal 
joint subulate or acuminate ; the head much narrower than the thorax and inserted 
in it as far as the eyes ; the abdomen, in the living insect, inclined ; the legs 
spinose ; the tarsi pentamerous. 

I. The body globose, narrowed posteriorly ; the abdomen almost entirely 

withdrawn beneath the elytra ; the palpi filiform, acuminate. 
Genus I. — Hypocyphtus, Schiip (Cypha, Kirby). longicornis laevius- 
culus. 

II. The body broad, narrowed posteriorly. 

A. The palpi subulate, with the terminal joint small, aciculate ; the segments 
of the abdomen entire. 
Genus II. — Tachyporus, Grav. saginatus, chrysomelinus, marginatus, 
abdominalis, nigripes, obtusus, ruficollis, pusillus, nitidulus, pubescens, cellaris, 
bipunctatus, pedicularius. 13. 

b. The palpi filiform, the terminal joint acuminate and longer than the pre- 
ceding one ; the segments of the abdomen emarginate in both sexes. 
Genus III. — Tachinus, Grav. fimbriatus, subterraneus, bipustulatus, 
humeralis, laticollis, dubius, rufipes, pullus, intermedins, fimetarius, marginellus, 
collaris, silphoides. 13. 

in. The body elongate, sub-attenuate on both sides. 

A. The palpi subulate, the terminal joint small and aciculate. 
Genus IV. — Mycetoporus, Mann, lepidus, splendidus, pallidulus, longu- 
lus, punctus. 5. 

b. The palpi filiform, the terminal joint the longest and acuminate. 
Genus V. — Bolitobius, Leach, formosus, cingulatus, analis, cernuus, 
striatus, lunulatus, atricapillus, pulchellus, trimaculatus, pygmaeus. 10. 



287 

Tribe VI. — Aleocharides. 

The antennae inserted between the eyes, opposite their internal margin, but 
not beneath the lateral margins of the head ; the labrum entire, truncated ; the 
terminal joint of the maxillary palpi conical or subulate ; the head either concealed 
or with a distinct neck ; the abdomen, in the living insect, extended lengthwise ; 
the legs unarmed or spinose in a very few ; the tarsi pentamerous. 

i. The maxillary palpi elongate, the terminal joint conical and acute. 

A. The antennae incrassated in the middle, with the first joint slightly the 
largest. 
Genus I. — Dinarda, Leach, dentata. 1. 

b. The antennae slender towards the extremity, subsetaceous, the first joint 
very robust, the apex emarginate. 
Genus II. — Lomechusa, Grav. strumosa, paradoxa, emarginata. 3. 
ii. The maxillary palpi short, the terminal joint subulate. 

A. The antennae filiform, not geniculated, the joints equal ; the mouth form- 
ing a rostrum ; the four anterior tibiae spinose. 
Genus III. — Gymnusa, Karsten. brevicollis, dubia. 2. 

b. The antennae geniculated at the base, thickened towards the extremity ; 
the mouth not rostrated ; the tibiae hirsute or pubescent, not spinose. 
1. The head more or less withdrawn beneath the thorax ; the body pos- 
teriorly more or less attenuate ; the anterior angles of the thorax 
muchdepressed. 
«. The antennas short, more or less thickened in the middle, the third 
joint more than twice as long as the second ; the body generally 
robust ; the thorax convex, narrower than the elytra ; the elytra 
often very short ; the legs hirsute ; the first joint of the tarsi 
slightly the longest. 
Genus IV. — Aleochara, Auct. fuscipes, tristis, bipunctata, intricata, 
carnivora, maerens, haemorrhoidalis, lanuginosa, villosa, fumata, laevigata, brevi- 
pennis, pulla, nitida, bilineata, morion, exigua. 17. 

&. The antennae short, slightly thickened towards the extremity, all the 
joints equal, the terminal one only the largest and oblongo-ovate ; 
the body elongate and tapering ; the thorax broader than the 
elytra, laterally rotundate and deflexed ; the legs pubescent, the joints 
of the tarsi equal. 
Genus V. — Sphenoma, Mann, abdominale. 1. 

y. The antennae somewhat longer, slightly thickened towards the apex, 
the second and third joints nearly equal ; the body narrowed pos- 
teriorly ; the elytra of about the width of the thorax ; the legs 
pubescent, the first joint of the tarsi a little longer than the following. 



288 

Genus VI. — Oxypoda, Mann, ruficornis, lividipennis, melanaria, opaca, um- 
brata, pellucida, lateralis, alternans, procerula, sericata, cingulata, obtuscata. 12. 
2. The head more or less exserted ; the body scarcely narrowed posteri- 
orly ; the thorax generally rotundate, with the angles scarcely de- 
flexed ; the legs pubescent. 
«. The five terminal joints of the antenna suddenly thickened. 

a. The body convex, narrowed anteriorly ; the first joint of the tarsi a 

little the longest. 
Genus VII. — Microcera, Mann, inflata. 1. 

b. The body sub-depressed, not narrowed ; the tarsi slender, the joints 

sub-equal. 
Genus VIII. — Oltgota, Mann, pusillima. 1. 

S. The antennae, with the two basal joints, robust, sub-globose, the re- 
mainder setose. 
Genus IX. — Trichophya, Mann, pilicornis. 1. 

y. The antennae more or less distinctly thickened towards the apex. 
a. The head sub-sessile, not broader than the base of the thorax. 
* The thorax of the width of the head ; the body flat, linear ; the 
antennae moniliform ; the last joint of the tarsi about equal to 
the rest collectively. 
Genus X. — Homalota, Mann, plana. 1. 

** The thorax transverse, globose, broader than the head, posteri- 
orly reflexed and marginate ; the body short, depressed, but 
revolved into a globe when frightened ; the joints of the tarsi 
equal. 
HrENUS XI. — Gyrophjena, Mann, nitidula, nana, affinis, polita. 4. 

*** The thorax broader than the head, rounded laterally ; the 

body in the majority subdepressed, posteriorly sublinear ; the 

first joint of the tarsi longer than the next following. 

Genus XII. — Bolitochara, Mann. Collaris, lunulata, prolixa, carbonaria, 

circellaris, inquinalis, teres, annularis, analis, reptans, haemorrhoa, crassicomis, 

longiuscula, sericans, luridipennis, castanoptera, socialis, nigritula, axillaris, atra- 

mentaria, aterrima, excavata, bifoveolata, linearis, angustula, atra, elongatula, ob- 

longa, complana, terminalis, exilis, quisquiliarum, planiuscula, depressiuscula, com- 

pressa, tenella, evanescens, humeralis, limbata, funesfa, depressa, flavipes, cinna- 

monea, pumilio, atrata, boleti, suturalis, pulchella, elegantula, longicornis, validi- 

cornis, fungi, agaricola, fuscula, parvula, pallidula, impressifrons. 57. 

#### The thorax elongate, of about the width of the head, scarcely 
rounded laterally ; the body elongate ; the abdomen somewhat 
dilated posteriorly ; the first joint of the tarsi, especially of the 
posterior legs, much longer than the next following. 



289 



Genus XIII. — Drusilla, Leach, canaliculata, exarata. 2. 

b. The head exserted, always broader than the base of the thorax. 
* The base and apex of the thorax of equal width ; the base 
of the elytra not folded ; the joints of the tarsi equal. 
Genus XIV. — Calodera, Mann, nigrita, protensa, testacea. 3. 

** The apex of the thorax broadest ; the base of the elytra 
not folded ; the first joint of the tarsi longer than that 
next following. 
Genus XV. — Falagria, Leach, sulcata, obscura, nigra, picea. 4. 

*** The apex of the thorax narrow, stipitate ; the base of the 
elytra folded. The joints of the tarsi equal. 
Genus XVI. — Autalia, Leach, rivularis, impressa. 2. 



% 



VOL. I. 2 P 



INDEX. 



Animal Prognostics, 23. 

Argulus Foliaceous, (Jurine) Observations 

on the, as injurious to Gold and Silver 

Fishes, by Miss Dobson, communicated 

by Mr. G. Samouelle, 28. 
Alyssum calycinum, Discovery of the, in 

Charnwood Forest, 32. 
Animals, On the Differences between Ver- 

tebrated and Invertebrated, by Robert 

Mudie, 58. 

British Insects, Notes on, by J. C. Dale, 

M.A., 12. 
Botanist, Notes of a, by J. Murray, F.L. and 

G.S., 17, 120, 222. 

Blackcapt Fauvet (Fieedula atricapilla ), Ex- 
periment on the Nest of a, 68. 

British Ornithology, Remarks on the present 
Nomenclature of, with a view to its revi- 
sion and correction, by the Rev. F. O. 
Morris, lGt), 216. 

Boa Constrictors, 175. 

Birds, On the Nests of, 181. 

Botanical Tour in Herefordshire, Monmouth- 
shire, and South Wales, with incidental 
Notices of the Scenery, Antiquities, &c, 
by Edwin Lees, F.L.S., &c, 209, 260. 

Botanical Terms, Remarks on, 208. 

Birds, Instances of Curious "Varieties of, 224. 

Common Dipper ( Cinclus aquations ), History 
of the, by William Mac Gillivray, A.M., 
F.R.S.E., &c, 105. 

Comparative Anatomy, Observations on the, 
with a Translation of Blumenbach's 
Chapter on Bones, 8 

Cuttings, Notices of, in a District of the Lon- 
don and Birmingham Railway, by the 
Rev. J. Bull, jun., F.G.S., 65 

Common Coot, (Fulica atra, Linn.), On the 
habits of the, by Neville Wood, Esq., 74 

Common Gallinule ( Gallinuia chloropusj, Un- 
usual Locality of the Nest of the, 85 

Chelifer, On the, 163. 

Colchicum autumnale, (Linn.), or Common 



Meadow Saffron, On the evidence of de- 
sign observable in the vital economy of 
the, by W. A. Leighton, B.A., 269 

Fen Reedling ( Sattcaria arundinacea, Selby), 
Reed Wren or Reed Warbler of other 
ornithologists, On the, by E. Blyth, 33. 

Fishes, Adaptation of, to Depths of Water, 
69. 

Fritillary ( Melxtaa dia), Descriptions of the 
Purple-underwinged, and Argynnis a- 
glaia, var., by J. C. Dale, A.M., with a 
coloured engraving, 145. 

Gar-pike (Belone vulgaris), Notice of the 
Reported Capture of the Common, in 
the River Tame, 39. 

Grey Wagtail (Molacilla cinerea) a Song 
Bird, 77 

Heart in the Testudo mydas, or Green Tur- 
tle, An account of the Structure of the, 
20 

Hatfield Chase, Some Account of the Leve 
of, by the Rev. F. O. Morris, 80 

Hedge Coalhood ( Pyrrhula vulgaris), Food 
of the, by J. P. Selby, 208 

Insects, Census of, 78 

Invertebrata, On the Circulation of the, by 

Langston Parker, 124 
Insects, Notices of the Captures of, by J. C. 

Dale, M.A. 249 

Kingfisher ( Alcedo ispida), Description of 
the, by Robert Mudie, with a coloured 
engraving, 193 

Mvosotis, Observations on the British Spe- 
cies of, by R. J. N. Streeten, M.D., 169 
Months, Notes on the,246 

Nature, Study of, No. 1, Reciprocal Influence 
of the Natural Sciences, by Robert Mu- 
die, 4 



291 



Natural History, On the Cultivation of, 84 
Nature, On the Moral Advantages of the 

Study of, 102 
Nests of Birds, On the, 129 
Naturalist, The, Abroad; or Days in the 

Woods and Fields : including incidental 

botanical and entomological Notices, by 

Edwin Lees, F.L.S. and F.E.S.L. ; No. 

I — The First Day of Summer, and the 

Libellulidae, 150 
Nidification, Remarkable Instances of, by 

C. T. Wood, 221 

Oscillaria Pharaonis, Observations on the, 134 
Ornithorhynehus Paradoxus, Description of 

the, by F. Ryland, 97 
Ornithological Notes, 182 
Ornithological Society, St. James's, 274 
Oriole, Golden, (Oriolus Galbula) Description 

of, 242 

Papilio Machaon, Remarks on the, by J. Cur- 
tis, 37 
Pollen of Flowers, 73 
Pigeon, Observations on the Ring, 184 
Plants, Dispersion of, 247 

Redshank, Remarks on the, 41 

Ring Pigeon (Columba palumbus, Linn.), On 
the Habits of the, by Neville Wood, 130 

Reminiscences of the Rhine, ornithological 
and entomological, 164, 202, 244 

Reviews : — Recherches sur les Poissons Fos- 
siles, par Louis Agassiz, 42 — Jenyns' 
Manual of British Vertebrate Animals' 
46 — Transactions of the Geological So- 
ciety of Pennsylvania, 86 — A History of 
British Quadrupeds, by Thomas Bell, 
F.R.S., 92— A History of the Rarer Spe- 
cies of British Birds, by T. C. Eyton, 136 
The Ornithologist's Text Book; the 
British Song Birds, by Neville Wood, 
Esq., ibid — The Naturalist's Library, con- 
ducted by Sir William Jardine, Bart., 
F.R.S.E., F.L.S', &c, Entomology, vol. 
iv., 140 — German Periodicals : Archiv. 



fiir Naturgeschichte ; von Dr. Ar. Fr. 
Aug. Wiegmann, 141, 185 — Isis; Ency- 

clopadische Zeitschrift, von Oken, 141 

The Natural History of Birds, by W. 
Swainson, A.C.G., F.R.S.L.S., 225— The 
Naturalist's Library ; Ornithology, vols. 
1 to 6, 229 

Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons, by the Rev. 
H. Duncan, D.D., 274 

Swiftfoot, ( Cursorius isubellinus) Description 
of the, by Shirley Palmer, M. D., 1 

Swallow Tail, ( Papilio podalirius), Observa- 
tions on the scarce, 32 

Snails, Music of, by Mrs. S. Kennaway, 38 

Silurian and other Rocks of the Dudley and 
Wolverhampton Coal Field, On the, 
with a Sketch proving the Lickey Quartz 
to be of the same age as the Caradoc 
Sandstone, by R. I. Murchison, F.G.S. 
and V.P.R.S., 113 

Swiftfoot, The; Extract of a Letter from 
James Wilson, 132 

Sea, Phosphorescent Appearance of the, by 
C. Dubois, F.L.S., 176 

Skate-fish, Ova of the, 178 

Scientific Journals, Extracts from Foreign, 
48, 94, 142, 191, 233, 279 

Swainson's, W., Remarks on Vernacular 
Nomenclature examined, by C. T. Wood? 
253 

Turnip-fly, (Athalia spinarum), Observations 
on the, 180 

Vegetable Kingdom, On the application of 
the Principles of Induction to the Inves- 
tigation of the, and the Inferences in re- 
lation to Natural Theology, by Robert 
Dickson, M. D., F.L.S., 146 

Vegetation of the Earth, On the Nature and 
Uses of the Primaeval, by Robert Dick- 
son, M.D., F.L.S., 197 

Whitebreasted Fauvet, (Ficedula garrula), 
Description of the, by Edw. Blyth, 49 

Wall Swift, ( Cypselus murarius), Scarcity of 
the, 72. 



END OF VOL. I. 



THE NATURALIST; 

ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE 

annual, Vt$ttafo\t> anir Mintwl utitgiiom*, 

(to be continued monthly), 



EDITED 



BY NEVILLE WOOD, ESQUIRE. 



Vol. II. April — December. 



LONDON: 

WHITTAKER AND CO., AYE-MARIA-LANE. 

1837. 



TO 



EDWIN LEES, 

Fellow of the Linnean Society, Member of the Entomological Society of London, &o. &c., 



IN ACKnOWLKDGMENT OF 



THE MANY VALUABLE PAPERS WITH WHICH 



HE HAS ENRICHED THIS WORK, 



AND AS A SLIGHT RETURN FOR THE KIND INTEREST HE HAS EVER EXPRESSED IN IT, 



Ww geronir Uoiutne 



IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED, 



BV 



THE EDITOR. 



THE NATURALIST. 



ON THE LEMURID^, OR FAMILY OF LEMURS. 

In an interesting paper by Mr. Ogilby, in the Zoological Proceedings, for March, 
1836, our readers will find an able review of the Qiiadrumanous and Pedimanous 
groups of Mammalia, and of the natural affinities which subsist between them. 
The merit of fairly distinguishing between the two groups, is certainly due to 
Mr. Ogilby ; but he is not alone in his distinction, founded upon the characters 
presented by the heads and feet, between the Monkeys of the old and new conti- 
nents. It is a distinction to which the writer of the present article has long since 
alluded ; and Azara observed, that all the five fingers of many of the American 
Monkeys originated on the same line with each other, the thumb being destitute 
of the power of antagonizing with the rest, an observation overlooked by all 
naturalists, or regarded as an error, till pointed out and justified by this talented 
writer. In the conclusion of the paper referred to, Mr. 0. proposed a new order, 
under the title Cheiropoda, in which shall be included all mammalia possessed of 
hands, whether those hands be on the anterior or the posterior extremities, or 
equally on both. The subjoined table is an abstract of the proposed arrange- 
ment : — 

Class MAMMALIA. 
Order Chetbopoda ; or Mammalia with opposite thumbs. 

1. On the anterior extremities only » Bimana. 

Example — Man . 

2. On both anterior and posterior extremities... Quadbumana. 

Sect. 1. "With anthropoid teeth. 

Monkeys of the old World. 

Sect. 2. With abnormal Teeth. 

Lemuridw (Lemur Family.) 

3. On the posterior extremities only ..Pedimaha. 

Sect. 1. With anthropoid teeth. 

Monkeys of the new World. 
Sect. 2. With rodent teeth. ' 

Cheiromys (Aye-aye). 
Sect. 3. With abnormal teeth. 
Didelphidee (Opossum Family). 
No. 7, Vol. II. b 



2 ON THE LEMURIDjE; OR, 

It is with the Lemuridse that we are at present concerned ; and our object in 
the introduction of the preceding sketch, is to shew the relative situation of the 
family, with regard to the groups around it. Agreeing with the old world Simise, 
in the possession of true hands, and hand-like feet, it differs from them mate- 
rially in the character of dentition, a point to which we shall more fully revert 
hereafter. While, however, the quadrumanous structure of the limbs, on the 
one hand, approximates the Lemurs to the Simise of the old world, the dental cha- 
racters of the pedimanous Simice of the new world throws them, in turn, into 
the closest affinity with the quadrumanous Simise, an affinity strengthened by a 
general coincidence of anatomical structure, and of habits and instincts. What 
the Lemurs are to the old world monkeys, that the ~Didelphid<B are to the mon- 
keys of the new world, and, in this sense, the Lemuridce and the Didelphidce, 
are the analogues of each other. Setting aside that singular and imperfectly- 
understood animal, the Cheiromys (of which the only specimen in Europe is 
that in the Paris museum), an anomalous creature approaching in some cha- 
racters the Pedimana, in others the rodents, and apparently constituting a new 
type in the organization of the mammiferous kingdom — let us attempt a brief 
analysis of the Quadrumana and Pedimana, as arranged by Mr. Ogilby, in 
order to clear up the subject before us. 

In the first place, then, the Simi& of the old world have anthropoid teeth ; 
that is, the general and outstanding characters of their dentition are such as 
obtain in the dentition of man ; and they have opposable thumbs, both on the 
hands and on the feet. To this rule there is, however, a very remarkable ex- 
ception; the genus Colobus, peculiar to Africa, is destitute of an externally 
developed thumb, and in this respect it agrees with the genus Ateles (Spider- 
monkeys) of South America. But it may be further observed, that in none of 
the old world Simice is the thumb, opposable as it may be, developed as we see 
it in the human hand. Indeed, in the Indian Orang (Pithecus Satyrus) it is 
very short, and, unless the fingers be bent down to meet it, cannot be used as 
their opponent. It is also short in the genus Semnopithcus, but is most developed, 
as far as our personal observations go, in the Baboons (CynocephalusJ of Africa. 
If we turn from the old world Simice, to those of the New, we find that, while 
yet retaining the anthropoid teeth, the thumbs are not at all opposable to the 
fingers ; they are, where present, invariably on the same plane. The feet have 
toes, as in the Simice of Asia and Africa, in which latter group, indeed, the hind 
thumbs, are more truly such, than are the analagous parts in the hands. In the 
Simice of the old world, the tail is often wanting, often short, and never prehensile. 
But, per contra, as if to atone , for the imperfection of the thumb, the tail in the 
pedimanous Simice is very frequently an admirable organ of prehension, as in 
the thumb-less Spider-monkeys, serving the purpose of an additional limb ; or it 
is semi-prehensile, as in the Squirrel-monkey ; while in others it is long and bushy. 



FAMILY OF LEMUR*. Z 

Now, with regard to the Lemurs, they depart from the Monkeys of loth 
worlds, in dental characters ; but in quadrumanous structure, they approach 
those of the old. As in these, however, so among the Lemurs, are the thumbs of 
the feet the most perfectly developed. In many species the tail is wanting ; in 
some it is short, in none is it a truly prehensile organ. If we turn from the 
Lemurs to the Didelphidce, in which family we include Didelphis and Phalan- 
gista, as the types of their respective forms, we see animals of arboreal habits, 
with an abnormal dentary system, and omnivorous appetites, destitute of a 
thumb on the forehands, but having this organ largely developed on the hind 
feet, and furnished with a truly prehensile tail. It may be objected, that the 
Opossums and Phalangers do not form a natural family. But we incline to the 
views of Mr. Ogilby, who contends for a " gradual and uninterrupted transition 
from the naked-prehensile-tailed Opossums of South America, through the 
equally naked-tailed Couscous, Balantia, of the Indian islands, to the Phalan- 
gers." And here we cannot but observe, that the prehensile power of the tail, 
constituting it an organ of importance in the economy of the animal, is almost 
exclusively confined to pedimanous Mammalia. To this rule there are only the 
following exceptions, as far as we know, among the whole range of the mammi- 
ferous kingdom ; viz: — the Kinkajou (Cercoleptes) the Coendou ( Synetheres), 
the Tamandua (Myrmecophaga TamanduaJ, in which it is partially prehensile, 
and the little Two-toed Anteater (Myrmecophaga didactylia, Linn.^), in which 
it is completely so. 

To this it may be added, that with a prehensile tail, there is associated in 
every instance a certain slowness and cautiousness of movement, devoid of the 
brusquerie and easy alertness so remarkable in all the Qaadrumana, except in a 
group among the Lemurs (Loris), comprehending a limited number of species, 
-whose actions are slow, and whose limbs possess a peculiar arterial arrangement, 
connected with a surprising tenacity of grasp, and the power of long-continued 
muscular strain, in one unaltered attitude. It will appear, then, from what we 
have said, that the Ckeiropoda present double analogues, the Monkeys of the 
old world forming a parallel group to those of the new, and the Lemuridce, a 
parallel group to the Didelphidce — the quadrumanous Lemurs bearing the same 
relationship to the quadrumanous Simi<z, as do the pedimanous Didelphidce to 
the pedimanous Simice. Having thus far attempted to shew the situation and 
natural affinities of the Lemuridce, we shall now proceed to a closer investigation 
of this curious and interesting family, which consists of several genera, distin- 
guished from each other by various characters, which we shall detail as we pass 
along in our review. 

The term Lemur, first adopted by Linn^us (from the Latin Lemures, signi- 

b 2 



4 ON THE LEMURID.E: OR, 

fying ghosts or spirits), was applied originally to the Slow-paced Loris, in 
reference to its nocturnal habits, and has since been extended to the whole of 
the family, of which it is the type. 

The Lemuridce are distinguished as a natural group, by the following cha- 
racters : — The body is long and slender, the head is pointed, and somewhat Fox- 
like, the nostrils have a sinuous opening, terminating a sharp naked muzzle, some- 
what prominent ; the eyes are large, and of a nocturnal character. The ears in 
some are small, and more or less concealed in the fur, in others large, membra- 
nous, and naked. The limbs are long, especially the posterior pair, which usually 
exceed the anterior. — The fore hands have a true thumb, and the index finger is 
often abbreviated. The feet or hind hands have a large thumb, greatly expanded at 
the tip; the index finger (of the hind hand) is slender, and armed with a long, 
subulate, and somewhat curved, claw. The nails of the other fingers, like those 
of the forehands, are flat and rounded. The body is covered with full, soft, woolly 
fur. The tail varies, being wanting or reduced to a mere tubercle in some, while in 
others it is long, and more or less bushy, but not prehensile. — On looking at the 
skull, which bears a very distinct resemblance to that of the Monkey, we find the 
orbits obliquely lateral, surrounded with a perfect margin, but opening within into 
the temporal fossa, which latter is not the case in Monkeys, the internal walls of the 
orbit being complete, as in man. The occipital foramen has a posterior situation, 
as in the Dog, so that the head is in no degree balanced upon the spinal column, 
but depends from it altogether. The upper incisors, four in number, are placed 
literally in pairs, with an intermediate space in front, in which are received, to a 
certain degree, the points ol the incisors of the lower jaw. These are six in 
number, laterally compressed, arranged side by side closely together, not in a 
vertical position, but projecting obliquely forwards, and converging to a point. In 
some species the two outermost incisors of the upper jaw are very small, and 
often lost, so that naturalists have regarded their number in such species to be 
but two ; whereas it is in reality four. The canines are long, recurved, and com- 
pressed with a posterior cutting edge, and a sharp point. The false molars are 
pointed ; the true molars are crowned with sharp conical tubercles, and interlock 
with each other, — reminding us very strongly of those of the Insectivora. In 
conformity with this dentition, the Lemuridce feed upon a mixed diet of animal 
and vegetable substances. They are, however, as a whole, more frugivorous 
than carnivorous, giving preference to fruits, roots, and the like. Eggs, insects, 
and small birds, are pursued by the slow, cautious Loris with great perseverance ; 
but if we may judge from specimens in captivity, the true Lemurs ( Makis or 
Macaucos) seldom make living animals their prey. Their bite is severe. 

The Lemuridce are all arboreal ; they tenant the depths of the forest, and 
sleep during the day ; the twilight of evening or the obscurity of night, while 



FAMILY OF LEMURS. 



rendering their forms indistinct among the the dark foliage of the trees, and thus 
serving as a friendly veil, rouses them from their repose, and invites them to 
sweep along through the woods in quest of food. They are, in fact, essentially 
nocturnal or crepuscular. They sleep perched on branches, with the head buried 
between the arms, in the fur of the chest ; and with the tail wound round the 
body, thus appearing like balls of fur. 

Active and at home among the trees, they are far less so on the ground, to 
which they rarely resort. When there, they move along obliquely, in a sort of 
canter or succession of bounds, applying the whole of the hands and feet, as do 
plantigrade animals, to the level surface over which they traverse, but from which 
they are ever anxious to escape. 

Having thus sketched the general characters and habits of the family, we shall 
next proceed to a consideration of the several genera into which it is subdivided. 

Genus Lemur. — Gen. Char. : — Headlong and triangular, muzzle pointed ; eyes 
moderate and oblique; ears short and hairy; tail very long and bushy. The 
hinder limbs longer than the anterior, the tibia and the femur being of equal 
length. — 

Incisors — , canines ■ 1 ' 1 - , molars on each side -4-. The incisors above 

b ' 1.1' 5 

are small ; below long, compressed, pointed, and in close array, projecting almost 
horizontally ; the outermost on each side is the largest ; they form altogether a sort 
of spoon or scooping instrument. The canines above are large, sharp, compressed, 
with a posterior cutting edge ; those of the lower jaw are smaller, and fit into a 
space between the upper canine and first false molar. Of the molars on each 
side above, the two first are false ; simple and acutely conical ; the true molars 
have each three pointed tubercles on their crown. The last molar is small. 
False molars below, two ; true molars three, the last being small. Mammae, 
two, pectoral. In the annexed sketch we give profiles of a hand and foot, and of 
the head, of one of this genus, in order to render the characters intelligible. 

The true Lemurs are 
all natives of Madagascar, 
where they supply the 
place of the Simice, so 
abundant on the adjacent 
shores of the African con- 
tinent. This circumstance, 
connected with others in 
reference to the indigen- 
ous mammalia of Mada- 
gascar, stamps the island 
with peculiar interest in 
the consideration of the 




ON THE LEMURIDjE: OR r 




naturalist. It is not be- 
cause Madagascar is sepa- 
rated from the mainland 
of Africa that it is desti- 
tute of SimtcE, for Borneo, 
Java, and Sumatra, under 
similar circumstances with 
regard to the mainland of 
India, produce the Orang 
and several other species 
of Gibbons and Monkeys; 
and, were we to judge by- 
analogy, we might reason- 
ably expect to find mon- 
keys in this wooded and 
torrid island. But as 
these are not indigenous 
3 and 4, heads of Lemurs. in Madagascar, so, on the 

other hand, none of the restricted genus Lemur, or of other immediately allied' 
genera, ( Perodicticus, Indris, &c), are natives of Africa. — In fact, the mam- 
malia of Madagascar are, in a great measure, exclusively its own. "We say 
in a great measure, because we find, for example, the Pteropine Bats spread 
throughout a vast range of geographical latitude ; including the islands Bourbon, 
Mauritius, and Madagascar, from India and its islands, to Africa. In most 
instances, however, the mammalia of Madagascar, and especially the Lemurs, as 
we have said, are generically peculiar to it. 

In their native woods, these singular and beautiful animals live in troops, but 
unless sought for in the recesses of the forest, are seldom seen during the 
day. They are incommoded by a strong light, and the pupil of the eye is trans- 
verse, dilating in proportion to the advance of welcome twilight. At this timer 
and throughout the night, they are all active and alert, bounding from branch to 
branch, with unequalled ease and gracefulness. There is a peculiar sweeping 
elegance in their movements, and the leaps they take, as if without effort, are 
perfectly astonishing. — Their usual voice is a low inward grunt, but they often 
break forth into a hoarse abrupt roar, producing a startling effect. This roar, 
uttered by one, is a signal to others, and a chorus of horrid discords resounds through 
the stilly forest. The roar of the Ruffed Lemur is peculiarly deep and sonorous. 
In captivity, with care and attention, the Lemur bears our climate well ; but 
they are impatient of cold, as might be inferred from their soft thick fur, which 
they need even in their own region. They are fond of sitting perched on the 



FAMILY OF LEMURS. 7 

fender before a fire, and in this situation will spread their hands, half close their 
eyes, and testify unequivocal satisfaction. During the day they sleep in a ball- 
like figure on their perch, and if two be in a cage together, they sit close to one 
another, with their tails wrapped (Boa-like) round each other's body, so as to 
make one round ball, from which, on being disturbed, two heads suddenly make 
their appearance. Their temper is gentle, and they are pleased with being noticed, 
delighting to have their heads scratched or rubbed, for which purpose they will 
press them to the bars of their cage, and continue so to do as long as thus grati- 
fied. Their intelligence is, however, far more limited than that of the Monkeys 
nor have they the prying, mischievous, petulant disposition of those animals, so 
that they may be trusted, with due precautions, in a room at liberty. "When 
presented with food, they usually take it in their hands, but not always, for we 
have seen them feed upon soft bread without holding it ; they lap fluid like a Dog. 
In size the Lemurs equal a Cat, and some are longer ; when in motion their tail 
is elevated in a sigmoid form, and not trailed after them. 

Of the restricted genus Lemur, the following are the species: — 
1. — The Ruffed Lemur (Lemur Macaco* Linn.) — The fur is varied with large 
patches of black, on a pure white ground ; the hands and feet are black, and 
a full white ruff surrounds the face. — In Mus. Zool. Soc. 
2. — The Black Lemur( Le?nur niger, Geoff.) — This rare species was first described 
t>y Edwards, in his Gleanings, under the title of " Black Macauco," figured 
from a living specimen, in 1775. It remained a doubtful species till the 
accession of an individual to the menagerie of the Zoological Society, in 
1833. It is noticed in the Proceedings for that year, p. 68. — In Mus. 
Zool. Soc. 
3. — Redfronted Lemur (Lemur rufifrons, Bennett), a new species described by 
Mr. Bennett, in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, in 1833, p. 106, 
from a specimen in the menagerie. General colour dark grey; a rufous 
patch occupies the forehead, with a longitudinal streak of black down the 
centre, expanding over the nose ; limbs, under parts, and tail, tinged with 
rufous. — In Mus. Zool. Soc. 
4. — Red Lemur (Lemur ruber, P^ron). — This species was first discovered by 
Commerson, who saw and figured the animal in 1763. MM. Peron and 
Le Sueur, who accompanied the celebrated expedition under Capt. Baudin, 
brought a skin to Paris ; and ten years afterwards a living individual was 
brought there, from which F. Cuvier took his figure. A living specimen 
existed some time since at Exeter Change, and another was in the menagerie 
of the Zool Soc. in the year 1830. — It is described and figured in the Gar- 
den and Menagerie delineated. Colour bright rufous, hands, tail, and belly 
black ; and a large oval patch of white occupies the back of the neck. — In 
Mus. Zool. Soc. 



8 ON THE LEMURID.E: OR, 

5. — Black-fronted Lemur (Lemur nigrifrons, Geoff.) — M. Geoffroy consider 
this species to be identical with an animal termed by Petivee Simia 
sciurus. — In Mus. Zool. Soc. 
G. — White-fronted Lemur (Lemur albifrons, Geoff.)— First described by M. 
Geoffroy St. Hilaire, and afterwards figured by Audebert, in his His- 
toire Naturelle des Singes et des Makis. — In Mus. Zool. Soc. 
7.— White-handed Lemur (Lemur albimanus, Geoff.) — Described first by M. 

Geoffroy, and figured by Audebert. — In Mus. Zool. Soc. 
8. — Mongooz Lemur (Lemur mongos, Linn.) — First described as the Mongous, 

by Edwards, in his Gleanings. In Mus. Zool. Soc. 
9. — Brown Lemur (Lemur fulvus, Geoff.) — Grand Mongous, Buffon, Supp. 

7, p. 118, fig. 133. 
10. — Anjouan Lemur (Lemur Anjuanensis, Geoff.) — From the island of An- 
jouan, near the coast of Madagascar. — Much doubt exists as to the genuine- 
ness of this species. F. Cuvier regards it as the female of the White-fronted 
Lemur. — We have never seen a specimen. 
11. — Collared Lemur (Lemur collaris, Geoff.) — First described by Geoffroy 

St. Hilaire. — In Mus. Zool. Soc. 
12. — Ring-tailed Lemur (Lemur Catta, Linn.) — In Mus. Zool. Soc. Mococo 

of Buffon. 
13. — Rufous Lemur (Lemur rufus, Audeb.) — Golden red above, pale yellow 
beneath ; circumference of the head white ; a longitudinal stripe of black 
from the occiput to the muzzle. Maki roux of Audebert, with a figure. 
Leaving the genus Lemur, as restricted by modern naturalists, Indris of 
Lacepede ( Lichanotus, Illig.), presents itself, as in close alliance with that 
which we have just left. Agreeing with Lemur in all its essential characters, 
the genus Indris is distinguished by a difference in the details of the dental formula, 
the incisors being four above and four below ; molars four above on each side, and 
five below. The hinder limbs are extremely long ; the head is broad, the muzzle 
short, and the hands are long. To this it may be added, that the tail is reduced 
to a mere tubercle ; such, at least, is the case in the only genuine species of this 
form with which we are acquainted, viz., the Indri (Indris brevicaudatus, 
Geoff. ; Lemur Indri, Linn.) It is true that a second species, the Long-tailed 
Indri (Maki bourre of Sonnerat; Makifauve, Buff.; Lemur laniger, Gmel.; 
and Indris Longicaudatus, Geoff :) is described in addition to the preceding, 
but only, as it would seem, on the authority of Sonnerat. Cuvier, in the last 
edition of his Regne Animal, does not admit it in the genus Indris, observing 
that it has need of revision ; as it respects ourselves, we are inclined to consider it 
as identical with an animal described in the Zoological Proceedings, as Propithe- 
cus diadema, Benn., or at least as an immediate ally. We cannot, however, help 



FAMILY OF LEMURS. V 

confessing, that the necessity of separating the genus Propithecus from that of 
Indris is very problematical ; nor should we do so, were it not for the great 
authority of the talented naturalist, now, alas ! no more, who instituted it. 

Setting aside, for the present, a consideration of the Long-tailed Indri, we may 
observe, that the Short-tailed Indri (I. brevicaudatusj, like the rest of the 
genuine Lemurs, is a native of Madagascar, where it is said to be frequently 
trained by the natives for the chase, or rather, perhaps, for taking birds, but of its 
history little is correctly known. The word Indri is said to signify, in the 
Madagascar language, a " Man of the Woods." — Of all the Lemurs, it is the most 
anthropoid in appearance, owing to the size and form of the head, the develope- 
ment of the hinder extremities, and the absence of a tail. In length it exceeds 
three feet ; its general colour is blackish-brown, with the exception of the muzzle, 
abdomen, and inside of the arms and thighs, which are inclined to grey, and of 
the crupper, which is white, and covered with thick woolly fur ; the hair on the 
other parts of the body is silky, long, and abundant. A unique specimen 
brought by Sonnerat, exists in the museum at Paris. The genus Propithecus, 
to which we have just adverted, was characterized from a fine specimen of a 
Lemuridous animal, presented by C. Telfair, Esq., to the Zoological Society. 
The generic characters are as follows : — Muzzle shorter than in the Lemurs 
generally ; ears short, rounded, and concealed in the fur. Hind limbs far exceed- 
ing the anterior pair in length. Index finger abbreviated. Tail long and well 
furred. Incisors, as in the Indri -5-. Molars, number not ascertained, the two 
first on each side above bicuspid, the third elongated with two tubercles on its 
outer edge, the fourth, as the third. The first molar below with a single point, 
the second and third presenting several tubercles. 

Species. — Diadem Propithecus ( Propithecus diadema, Benn.) — " The face is 
nearly naked, with short blackish hairs about the lips, and equally short yellowish 
white hairs in front of the eyes. Above the eyes, the long, silky, waved, and 
thickly set hairs, which cover the body, commence by a band of yellowish white 
crossing the front, and passing beneath the ears to the throat. This is succeeded 
by black, extending over the back of the head and neck, but becoming freely 
intermingled with white on the shoulders and sides, the white gradually increas- 
ing backwards, so as to render the loins only slightly grizzled with black. At 
the root of the tail the colour is fulvous, which gradually disappears until the 
extreme half of the tail is white, with a slight tinge of yellow. The outer side 
of the anterior limbs, at the upper part, is of the slaty- grey of the sides, below 
which it is pale fulvous ; the hands are black, with the exception of tufts of long 
fulvous hairs at the extremities of the thumb and fingers, extending beyond and 
covering the nails. The outer sides of the hinder limbs, after receiving a tinge 
of fulvous from the colour surrounding the root of the tail, are of a paler fulvous 

c 



10 ON THE lemuridje: or, 

than the anterior limbs. This becomes much deeper on the hands (hinder), which 
are fulvous, except on the fingers, where there is a very considerable intermixture 
of black, the terminal tufts, equally long with those of the anterior hands, being 
as in them fulvous. The under surface is white throughout, with the exception 
of the hinder part of the throat, where it is of the same colour with the sides of 
the body. The hairs are generally long, silky, waved, erect, and glossy. On the 
crupper, they are shorter and more dense, offering a sort of woolly resistance. 
On the tail, they have the general character of those of the body, but are con- 
siderably shorter." 

Length of the head and body, 1ft. 9 in. ; of the tail 1ft. 5in. 

" The external characters, by which Propithecus is distinguished from Lemur, 
are its shorter muzzle, terminated by more approximate nostrils, the upper 
margin of which appears to be slightly lobulated ; its rounded ears ; the marked 
disproportion in length between its hinder and anterior extremities ; the greater 
length of its hands, especially of the anterior; the shortness of its anterior 
thumb, which is also placed much farther back ; the marked abbreviation of the 
anterior index ; the development and power of the hinder shank, which is nearly 
an equal opponent to the whole of the fingers ; and the comparative shortness of 
the hairs by which the tail is covered."— Habitat Madagascar, where it is stated 
to be rare. Of its history nothing is known. In Mus. Zool. Soc. 

Now, if we compare the description of the Long-tailed Indri, with that just 
given of the Diadem Propithecus, we shall not fail to perceive the resemblance, 
notwithstanding some points of variation, and an inferiority in size. Length of 
head and body about 15 inches. The body has a stout appearance, from the 
thickness of the fur ; the head is less elongated than in the Short-tailed Indri ; 
the forehead is broad ; the eyes large, the ears short and concealed under the fur, 
which is of a deep yellow or fulvous; thumb of the hinder hands large and strong, 
with a broad nail, thin and flat ; first toe united at the base to the thumb, by a 
black membrane. Fur soft and woolly; general colour yellow; under surface 
generally, and inside of limbs, dull white tinged with yellow ; crupper, around 
the root of the tail, white. A black mark covers the nose and part of the face, 
terminating in a point on the forehead ; hind feet covered with mingled grey and 
yellow hairs; fingers and nails black. — Vide Desmarest, and Geoffroy in 
Annates du Museum, xix., p. 158. — The chief differences between this animal 
and the preceding, it will be seen, consist in the inferiority in size of the latter, 
in the arrangement of black on the face, and the presumed absence of this colour on 
the back of the neck and shoulders, together with the absence to the white band 
across the forehead, bounding anteriorly a black cap. Still, in the general yellow 
tint pervading the limbs and body, in the shortness of the ears, the abbreviation 
of the muzzle, and in the quality of the fur, the coincidence is remarkable ; inso- 



FAMILY OF LEMURS. II 

much, that we cannot avoid believing, that if not identically the same, at all 
events they are intimately related ; but as we have never seen the Indris longi- 
caudatus of Geoffroy, it would be unsafe to hazard any positive opinion. 

The true Lemurs appear to be restricted to the genera, — Lemur (as the type), 
Indris and Propithecus ; the two latter depart, as we have seen, in some points, 
and especially in their dental formula, from the normal group. In the genus 
Lemur, the incisors of the upper jaw are dilated at their cutting edges ; but in 
Propithecus this dilitation is carried out to a greater extent, so as to approximate 
them in form to those of the Monkey. With respect to the position of the canine 
teeth, there is a peculiarity in the Lemurs which demands notice. If we 
examine the teeth of a Monkey, we see that the canines of the lower jaw, when 
the mouth is closed, advance and fit in before those of the upper jaw ; and this 
position of the canines, with relationship to each other, is the general rule. It 
obtains throughout the Camivora ; we see it in the Hog, and the Horse, of which 
the male has tusks in both jaws. It is in fact a standard rule. — If, however, we 
turn to the Lemurs, we find a remarkable exception. In the genus Lemur, the 
canines of the lower jaw close behind and to the inside of the posterior edge of 
those of the upper, the anterior margin of the former (that is the lower canines) 
wearing against the latter. From this circumstance, Geoffroy St. Hilaire has 
been induced to consider the two outer incisors of the lower jaw, which are larger 
than the intermediate ones, as the true canines. This idea, however, will not 
stand the test of scrutiny. For the outer incisors of the lower jaw have neither 
the form, the position, nor the use of canines; whereas, though they do close 
behind their antagonists, the canines of the lower jaw have the true figure and 
usa of such teeth. Moreover, in the genera Indris and Propithecus, in which the 
upper incisors are four, and not six, the canines of the lower jaw also close behind 
those of the upper ; and if they are not to be considered in the light of genuine 
canines, what are I — for the incisors here are only four. In the skull of a 
little Lemuridous animal (Microceleus murinus) now before us, which closely 
resembles the Lemur in dentition, the point of the lower canines (which 
advance obliquely forwards) bears completely against the inner side of the upper 
incisors, but still rather behind them, the body of the lower canines filling a space 
between the canines of the upper jaw and the succeeding false molar. 

We find, then, this arrangement of the canines obtaining through the whole 
of the Lemuridous family, till we come to that strangely aberrant form, the 
Flying Lemur or Galiopihecus ( Galeopithecus ) , an animal constituting the 
type of a distinct group, in which canines are altogether wanting. We cannot 
avoid observing, that M. F. Cuvier, in his work entitled Des Dents des Mammi- 
feres considers, characterizes lemuridous animals as having six incisors above 
and six below, the reciprocal position of the teeth being as in Monkeys. We 



12 on the iBiitnatoiM. 

do not know the specimen from which he has taken his figures and descrip- 
tion; hut the Potto of Bosman; {Perodicticus Geoffroyi, Bennett; Lemur Potto, 
Gmel. ; Nycticebus Potto, Geoffr. ) has only four incisors above ; and the 
reciprocal position of the canines is as in the Lemur. — See Zool. Proceed, for 
1831, p: 109. — The specimen of Perodicticus Geoffroyi is in the Mus; Zool. 
Soc, and, being preserved in spirits, its dentition is easily examined. 

Confining ourselves still to Madagascar, a new genus now demands our 
notice; — it is that termed Cheirogaleus by Geoffroy, from Xtr^, a hand, and 
TaXv or TacXtv, a Cat. This genus was first established on three drawings by 
Commerson, in a paper in the Annates du Museum, Vol. 19, p 171. Geoff. 
St. Hilaire there observes, that the animals made known by these drawings 
" have, like Cats, the head round, the nose and muzzle short, the lips furnished 
with whiskers, the eyes large, projecting, and set near together, and the ears 
short and oval. Their tail is long, bushy, regularly cylindrical, naturally 
folded, or rolled sometimes on itself, sometimes around the body." — In con- 
junction with these traits, the general characters are those] of the Lemuridce . 
Notwithstanding the authority of Geoffroy St. Hilaire, and the drawing of 
Commerson, noted for his great accuracy, the genus Cheirogaleus long remained 
doubtful. Recently, however, an animal belonging to this group has been 
brought alive to Paris, from Madagascar, by Admiral Milius, which, as Geof- 
froy says, justifies him in the establishment of the genus upon the few data left 
by Commerson. — It would seem that the animals of this group were not un- 
known to Flaccourt, who observes, that he noticed in the neighbourhood of 
Mangobay a kind of Lemur of small size, grey, and with a very blunt muzzle. 
Compared with the Lemurs, the species of Cheirogaleus are of a stouter and shorter 
colour ; the general outline of form is the same,but it is as if the long slender figure 
of the Lemurs was contracted and gathered up together; the head is large, the 
eye open, the upper lips are thick, and cover those beneath ; so that it seems as if 
these animals, Lemurs in truth, had borrowed some traits from the feline group. 

Of the species ascribed to this genus, three rest on the authority of Com- 
merson. These are the Ch: major, 1 Finches in length; the Ch. medius, 8| 
inches long ; and the Ch : minor, 7 inches long. The individual brought home 
by Admiral Milius, forms, according to Geoffroy, a fourth species. This 
animal is described and figured by F. Cuvier, under the name of Maki-nain, 
to which he has given the name of Ch : Milii. It is upwards of a foot in 
length; greyish rufous above, greyish white beneath; a circle of white sur- 
rounds the eyes; the muzzle is naked and blackish. In habits, these animals 
are decidedly nocturnal ; and their activity is surprising. The specimen at 
Paris is described as traversing its cage, as if on wings, and taking perpendicu- 
lar leaps of five or six feet in height. 



WINGS OF BIRDS. 13 

In looking at the drawings of Commerson, as published by Geoffroy, and 
in reading his account of the Ch: Milii, we cannot but be struck with the close 
affinity between these animals and those of the genus Microcebus. Indeed we 
cannot help suspecting, that the latter species belongs to this genus; for, be it 
observed that Commerson gives his three species of Cheirogaleus as having the 
nails on the fingers both of the anterior and posterior hands elongated and 
claw-like. — It is true, that Geoffroy says, that in this point Commerson has 
committed an error; but surely if we are to trust to one part of his draw- 
ing, we are to place confidence in the whole ; and it is only because the nails 
are not found to be so constructed in the Ch : Milii, that he regards Com- 
merson as wrong. — We have not, indeed, had an opportunity of seeing the 
specimen on which Geoffroy has founded his latter species ; but we have care- 
fully examined (and one anatomically) two species of the genus Microcebus, 
respecting which we feel on safer grounds than with regard to Cheirogaleus. — 
To this genus we propose to turn our attention in the next number of the 
Naturalist. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE MUSCULAR APPARATUS OF THE WINGS 

OF BIRDS. 

By William MacGillivray, A. M., F. R. S. E., M. W. S., &c, 

Conservator of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. 

The frame work of the wing is composed of a series of bones attached by a 
loose joint to the solid apparatus of the scapula and clavicles, and folding up by 
hinges into three pieces, the humerus or brackiam, the cubitus, and the hand, 
so as, when not in use, to be conveniently disposed of by the side of the body. 
The first bone, the os humeri, brachial bone, or bone of the arm, is articulated 
by a rounded surface to a corresponding cavity formed between the coracoid bone, 
or posterior clavicle, and the scapula, in such a manner as to allow great free- 
dom of motion. When at rest, this bone is directed backwards, more or less 
parallel to the spine. Its distal extremity forms, with the proximal extremity of 
the cubital bones, the ulna and radius, an oblique hinge-like joint, which allows the 
cubitus to be folded up parallel to the brachium, and nearly in the same plane. 
The third portion, the hand, on the contrary, is jointed so as to fold under the 
cubitus in a perpendicular plane. These solid parts are moved upon each other, 
and upon the scapula, by a complicated muscular apparatus ; and the arm, thus 



14 WINGS OF BIRDS. 

constructed, is converted into an instrument of flight, by having appended to its 
posterior edge a large lamina or plate, composed of a series of strong, elastic fea- 
thers, named quills, and varying in firmness, form, length, and relative propor- 
tion, according to the kind of flight necessary for the species. When about to be 
employed, the parts which in a state of rest were folded up, are stretched out so 
as to unfold the feathers somewhat in the manner of a fan, and form a horizont- 
ally expanded lamina, which, being alternately raised and forcibly pulled down, 
furnishes a lever, whereby the body is elevated into the air ; when, with repeated 
strokes, by which the wing is alternately drawn upwards, forwards, and inwards, 
and then more forcibly outwards, downwards, and backwards, the bird advances, 
directing its course by the tail, but more especially by a difference in the action 
of the two wings. 

The wood-cuts represent the wing of a Domestic Pigeon, Columba livia, de- 
prived of all its feathers, excepting the quills, and viewed, first from above, Fig. 
1 ; then from beneath, Fig. 2. In these figures, a is a portion of the body ; b, c, 
the humerus or brachium ; c, d, the cubitus or antibrachium ; d, f y the hand, 
composed of d, e, the carpus and metacarpus ; y, the pollex or outer finger, and 
e,f, the other fingers. The ten quills attached to the hand, from d toy", are the 
primary quills ; those attached to the cubitus, from c to d, are the secondary 
quills. They are arranged, as is observed, in two distinct sets. Those on the 
first finger, g t are named alular quills. Besides these, there are large feathers, 
not, however, so strong, attached to the skin along the edge of the humerus, b, c ; 
but these, which are named tertiary quills, have been removed . Now, the order of 
nomenclature, if numerical, ought to have commenced at the part nearest the body: 
those on the first point or brachium, ought obviously to have been named primary ; 
those on the second, secondary ; and those on the third, tertiary. A decidedly 
preferable mode, however, is to name the quills according to their relations : — 
brachial, cubital, and digital ; those on the first finger alular. Besides the fea- 
thers, there is represented the muscular apparatus of the wings, as seen after the 
skin has been removed. The muscles to be described are; — 1st. Those inserted 
into the scapula; 2ndly, Those inserted in the brachial bone; 3rdly, those 
inserted into the bones of the hand. In the figures the same muscles bear the 
same numbers. 

1. Mnscles inserted into the Scapula. 

1. The first muscle is the trapezius, which, arising from the spines of the last 
cervical, and all the dorsal vertebrae, excepting the last two, is inserted into the 
dorsal edge of the scapula, and the extremity of the furcula. Its action is to 
draw the scapula towards the spine, and to fix it during flight. 

Under this are the rkornboideus, which passes from the spines of some of the 
anterior dorsal vertebrae, to the dorsal edge of the scapula ; and the levator sea- 



WINGS OF BIRDS. 15 

pulse, which, arising from the transverse process of the last cervical vertebra, 
and a few of the anterior ribs, is inserted into the dorsal edge of the scapula, 
which it pulls upwards and forwards. 

2. The serratus magnus anticus arises by digitations from the last four ribs, 
excepting two, and is inserted into the extremity of the scapula. A slender 
slip, 2 a, separates from it to be inserted into the skin of the posterior edge of 
the brachium. 

There is also a serratus parvus anticus or costo scapulari, which arises in like 
manner from the first two ribe, and is inserted into the anterior part of the 
lower edge of the scapula. 

2. Muscles inserted into the humeral or brachial bone : — 

3. The two superficial slips seen on the back are analogous to the latissi- 
mus dorsi in man. They arise from the spinous processes of the last cervical, 
and some of the anterior dorsal vertebrae. The first, 3 a, is inserted into the 
coracoid bone, the other, 3 b, into the middle of the linea aspera or dorsal 
ridge of th e humerus, which it draws toward the back. The other muscles 
which arise from the trunk to be inserted into the humerus are situated in 
front. 

4. Pectoralis major, Fig. 2. — Arises from the whole length of the crest of 
the .sternum, from its posterior and lateral margins, from the ribs, and from 
the outer edge of the furcula, forming a triangular mass of vast size, some- 
times exceeding in bulk all the other muscles of the body together. Its fibres 
run obliquely forwards and outwards, pass over the shoulder-joint, and are 
inserted fleshy into the anterior or upper crest tff the head of the humerus, 
and by a flat tendon where they cross the insertion of the next muscle. Its 
action has not been correctly described. Its anterior part raises the hu- 
merus, and brings it forward; its middle part brings the wing downwards ; and 
its posterior portion brings the humerus backward, close to the body. Its 
combined action is powerfully to depress the wing, and bring its anterior 
edge downward, by which the quills are obliquely raised. 

5. Under the great pectoral muscle, is seen in Fig. 3, the pectoralis medius. 
It arises, properly speaking, over the other, from the whole length of the 
under surface of the sternum, and the upper half of its crest, and from the 
fore edge of the coracoid bone, and the membrane between it and the furcula. 
The fibres converge into a central tendon, extending its whole length, which 
passes forwards between the coracoid bone and the furcula, curves round the 
joint, and is inserted upon the upper tubercle or crest of the humerus, close 
to the insertion of the pectoralis major, and anterior to it. Although this 
muscle is similar in its origin to the pectoralis major, its action, owing to the 
direction of its tendon, is the reverse of that muscle, as it elevates the humerus 
and brings it forward. 



16 . WINGS OF BIRDS. 

6. The pectoralis minor is a small muscle which arises from the lower two- 
thirds of the outer edge of the coracoid bone and the anterior margin of the 
sternum, under the articulation of the ribs, forms a small round tendon, which 
passes outwards and forwards, and is inserted into a prominent internal 
tubercle of the humerus, which it pulls downwards and backwards. 

7. Above and before the pectoralis minor is a small muscle, arising from the 
upper part of the coracoid bone, and a strong fascia extended from its base to 
its extremity above, passing obliquely upwards, and being inserted anteriorly 
to the pectoralis minor: Its action is to draw the humerus directly 
downwards. 

The muscles which arise from the scapula to be inserted into the humerus 
are the following : — 

8. The supra spinatus, Fig. 1, arises from the fore part of the scapula, and 
is inserted into the posterior or inner crest of the humerus, externally of the 
tendon of the pectoralis minor. 

9: The infra spinatus arises from the outer surface of the scapula, as far a 
its extremity, and is inserted into the same prominence as the last. These two 
muscles draw the humerus backward. 

The subscapularis arises from the fore part of the inner or under surface 
of the scapula, and is inserted into the same protuberance. 

10. The deltoides arises from the fore part of the scapula, and from the top of the 
coracoid bone, its anterior fibres being in contact with those of the pectoralis major. 
Its anterior portion is inserted into the outer and back part of the edge of the 
anterior crest of the humerus, its posterior into that bone, as far as the origin of 
the supinator radii longus, that is, four-fifths of its length. A thin flap is at- 
tached to the skin in the bend of the wing. The deltoid muscle raises the 
humerus. 

Under the deltoid is the coraco-brackialis, which arises from the tip of the 
coracoid bone, and adjoinipng part of the scapula, and is inserted into the prox- 
imal part of the crest of the humerus. Its action is to pull the humerus forward 
and upward. 

The muscles inserted into the cubitus or fore-arm, come next in order ; but it 
may be proper here to describe a very curious apparatus existing in the bend of 
the wing anteriorly, between the shoulder and wrist joints, b and d. ' At that 
part, the edge of the wing is formed by a fold of the skin enclosing an elastic 
substance, and edged with an elastic tendon or fibre, which has at its commence- 
ment at the shoulder-joint a small muscle detached from the pectoralis major. 

11. This muscle, named the tensor plicae, alee, or stretcher of the fold of the 
wing, has its terminal insertion in the prominence at the base of the metacarpal 
bone at d. Another smaller slip comes off" behind from the anterior ridge of the 



WINGS OF BIRDS. 17 

humerus, and immediately jforms a very slender tendon which passes along the 
humerus to the radius. 

About the middle of the fold, at h, is a dense mass of cellular tissue, to which 
is attached a thin flap from the deltoid muscle, seen in the figures at h. 

12. Besides which, there is a thin muscle arising from an aponeurotic base 
from the lower part of the deltoid near its insertion, attached to the cellular 
mass at h, and sending off from its lower edge, a very slender tendon, inserted 
along with that of the tensor plicse. This muscle may be named the retractor 
plica. 

3. Muscles inserted into the cubitus : — 

The muscles which move the fore-arm on the arm are two, a flexor and an 
extensor. 

13. Flexor cubiti, or biceps flexor, arises tendinous from the upper extremity 
of the coracoid bone, passes, flat, under the insertion of the pectoralis major, and 
also from the flat surface and edge of the inferior crest of the humerus, runs 
along the anterior and inferior face of that bone, and is inserted, by a short ten- 
don, into the radius, and by a more slender slip into the ulna, between the 
supinator radii longus, and the pronator radii teres. Its action is to bend the 
cubitus on the humerus* 

14. Extensor cubiti arises from the anterior extremity of the scapula, from the 
head of the humerus, by another distinct origin from the lower ridge of that 
bone, and from the greater part of its posterior edge, or linea aspera, and is 
inserted by two tendons into the olecranon, or upper extremity of the ulna. Its 
action is to extend the cubitus, and raise it a little. 

4. Muscles inserted into the hand: — 

As these muscles are numerous, it may be expedient to describe them in the 
order in which they are seen in the two views. 

In Fig. 2, representing the lower surface of the wing, are observed the follow- 
ing muscles : — 

15. Extensor metacarpi radialis longior, or supinator radii longus, the muscle 
seen on the fore edge of the cubitus, arises from the outer condyle of the hume- 
rus, runs along the anterior edge of the fore-arm, and terminates in a slender 
tendon, which is inserted into the protuberance on the head of the radial meta- 
carpal bone, anterior to the first digit. Its action is to bend the arm, and extend 
the hand, or bring it into a straight line with the cubitus. The insertion of the 
biceps cubiti, 13, is between the head of this muscle and that of the pronator 
teres, 21. 

16. Of the muscles that arise from the inner condyle, the first or most external 
is the flexor carpi ulnaris, which comes off by a tendon from the lowest part of 
the condyle, passes along the inner and posterior side of the ulna, in contact with 

No. 7, Vol. II. c 



18 WINGS OF BIRDS. 

the bases of the. cubital quills, and on the anterior side with the palmaris longus, 
17, and is inserted by a short tendon into the projecting point of the ulnar car- 
pal bone, analogous to the os pisiforme. Its action is to bend the hand, or 
bring it back towards the fore-arm. 

17. The palmaris longus arises from the inner condyle of the humerus, imme- 
diately above the flexor carpi ulnaris, 16, and covering the flexor carpi radialis, 
19, runs superficially over the flexor digitorum, 18, and is inserted partly into the 
base of the posterior carpal bone, partly into the fascia which covers the lower 
surface of the metacarpus, partly into the ulnar carpal bone, and sends a slen r 
der tendon along the radial metacarpal bone and the first phalanx, to be inserted 
into the base of the second phalanx. Its action is to bend or adduct the hand, 
and at the same time extend the digit. 

18. The flexor digitorum is a small muscle arising under the palmaris longus 
from the inferior and posterior surface of the ulna, along four-fifths of its length, 
the upper-fifth excepted. Its fibres pass obliquely forwards, and it sends off a 
very long tendon, running anterior and parallel to that of the palmaris longus^ 
and having a similar insertion. Another tendon also passes to be inserted into 
the base of the radial metacarpal bone, under that of the supinator radii longus. 

19. The flexor carpi radialis arises from the inner condyle, immediately 
below the origin of the pronator radii teres, 21, and concealed by the palmaris 
longus, 17. Its fibres pass obliquely forwards along the lower and posterior 
edge of the radius, in contact anteriorly with the pronator radii teres, and pos- 
teriorly with the flexor digitorum, 18. It is inserted fleshy along the posterior 
edge of the radius. Its action is to draw the arm obliquely downwards and' 
forwards. 

20. Under these muscles is a shorter one, which arises from the posterior 
edge and lower surface of the ulna, for two-thirds of its length, and forms a 
short strong tendon, which passes over the wrist joint, to be inserted into the 
base of the radial matacarpal bone. Its use is to assist in extending the hand. 

A thin fleshy muscle extends obliquely forwards from the outer edge of the 
ulna in nearly its whole length, to be inserted along two-thirds of the lower sur- 
face of the radius. It is a pronator of the radius, which, though fixed when the 
wing is extended, has considerable motion when bent, in which case it tends to 
elevate the hand. This muscle is analogous to the pronator radii quadratus. 

21. The most anterior muscle of those that come from the inner or posterior 
part of the lower extremity of the humerus, is the pronator radii teres. It arises 
from the upper part ef the inner condyle of the humerus, at a considerable dis- 
tance up the arm, by a tendinous origin, passes obliquely outwards, in contact, 
first, with the insertion of the biceps flexor cubiti, then, on the same or anterior 
side of the fore-arm, with the extensor carpi radialis longior, 1 5, and on the • 
other side with the flexor carpi radialis, 19; and is inserted into two-thirds of 



WINGS OF BIRDS.v 19 

the" length of the radius. Its action is to bend the fore-arm obliquely down- 
wards and inwards. 

The small muscles on the hand may be described afterwards. Let us now 
turn to the upper surface of the cubitus, seen in Fig. 1. 

The most external muscle of which a portion is seen along and behind the 
ulna, is the flexor carpi ulnar is, 1 6, already described. 

22. The next muscle is the extensor carpi ulnar is, which arises from the lower 
extremity of the outer condyle of the humerus, runs along the middle of the 
fore-arm, with the ulna immediately behind, and terminates in a long slender 
tendon, which passes over a pulley at the extremity of the ulna, and is inserted 
into the posterior edge of the radial metacarpal bone. Its aetion is to extend the 
hand, and, when extended, to bring it upwards. It is not by any means an 
adductor of the hand, as stated in various books. 

23. Extensor primi digiti, arises from the outer condyle of the humerus, runs 
along the fore-arm, parallel and anterior to the last, and forms a very slender 
tendon, which, passing over that of the next muscle, goes to be inserted into the 
base of the bone of the first finger, which it draws upwards and backwards. 

24. Extensor digitorum arises from the outer condyle of the humerus, and from 
the anterior edge of the ulna, and the posterior edge of the radius ; its tendon 
passes over the wrist joint, and runs along the radial metacarpal bone, to be in- 
serted into the last phalanx. Sometimes several slips are given off by this ten- 
don. It pulls the hand or pinion upwards and outwards. 

25. Extensor carpi radialis brevis arises also from the inner condyle, and from 
nearly the whole length of the inner edge of the radius, and is inserted by a 
slender tendon into the prominence at the base of the metacarpal bone, near that 
of the extensor carpi radialis longior, 15, already described, which is the muscle on 
the anterior edge of the fore-arm. 

There now remain the small muscles on the hand. 

The first finger, g, has three muscles. 

26 — Flexor primi digiti arises from the base of the radial metacarpal bone, 
and is inserted into that of the first finger, which it draws downwards. 

27 — Adductor primi digiti arises from the metacarpal bone, and is inserted 
along the inner or posterior edge of that of the first finger, which it draws towards 
the next. 

28. — Abductor primi digiti arises from the insertion of the tendon of the 
supinator radii longus, 15, and draws the first finger outwards from the second. 

29. — Abductor digiti majoris arises from the whole length of the outer edge of the 
radial metacarpal bone, and is inserted into the base of the first phalanx, which 
it draws forward. 

30. — Adductor digiti arises from the ulnar carpal bone, and the whole length of 



20 NOTES ON THE AMAR^E. 

the ulnar metacarpal, and is inserted into the edge of the third or little finger, which 
is so firmly attached to the second as to have no independent motion. The action 
of this muscle, therefore, is to draw the fingers backwards. 

31. — Supinator or extensor digiti fills up the space between the two metacarpal 
bones, and is inserted fleshy into the base of the first phalanx, and by a tendon 
into that of the second: It pulls the second finger upwards and backwards. 

By this complex apparatus, then, the wings are made to perform all those 
powerful, delicate, and varied motions, necessary for ordinary flight, for escape, 
pursuit, and the numberless inflexions used every day by birds in their usual 
avocations. These motions will be better understood by inspecting the figure 
than by following a laboured description, and still better by dissecting the wing 
of a Pigeon, or any other bird of moderate size. 

The flight of birds has not been hitherto described further than in the vague 
and general manner in which it is treated in anatomical works, and in the descrip- 
tions of ornithologists. It exhibits, however, a vast variety of modifications, 
some of which I shall endeavour to describe in a future communication, to which 
the present will answer as a basis. 



NOTES ON THE AMARJE. 

By Peter Rylands, Esq. 

In many cases it is a very difficult matter to decide correctly the rank of 
individual specimens of insects, extraordinary varieties may so often be mis- 
taken for species. These can only be tested by examining a number of individuals 
of the species, and should there be found specimens which vary in such a manner 
as to form a connecting link between the supposed species and the established one, 
the true value of the former is at once understood. An example of this may be 
found in the genus Pontia. If you examine a true P. metra, and a true P. rapce, 
the appearances greatly favour the supposition that they are distinct species ; but 
should you meet with specimens in which the characters of P. rapes and metra 
are so blended and united, as to create a doubt to which species they belong, you 
would instantly decide that the one was a variety of the other. In like manner, 
and for the same reason, Pontia Chariclea must rank merely as a variety of 
P. Brassicce. Thus, also, many naturalists are of opinion that Hipparchia 
polydama is a distinct species, whereas it is merely an extraordinary variety of 
H. Davus. I am led to this conclusion from having taken, last summer, on 
Woolston Moss, near here, where II. Davus is abundant, a specimen which ex- 
hibited characters both of the Davus and polydama. 



NOTES ON THE AMAR^i 21 

Perhaps the species of no other genus are so liable to mistakes similar to the 
above, as those of Amara. Not only are they very similar in their general aspect, 
but each species is subject to considerable variety in colour. Being influenced by 
these considerations, and believing it highly probable that some species might 
have escaped detection through the general similarity of the whole, during the last 
season I undertook a complete revision of those species which I could meet with 
in this neighbourhood, the results of which I beg to lay before the reader. Another 
motive for writing this paper, is the conviction, that many beneficial results would 
accrue from placing within the reach of every entomologist, a good description of 
the species belonging to difficult groups, such as the one under consideration ; and 
I feel persuaded, that many will purchase the Naturalist, who are not able to pro- 
cure the expensive volumes of Stephens and other authors. 
Genus Amara, Bonelli, &c. 
Pal.* external, maxillary, and labial, with the two last joints equal, the 
terminal oval, truncate, the third clavate : labr. quadrate, slightly emarginate : 
mand. short, denticulated at the base : merit, emarginate with a bifid lobe : ant. 
linear, the three first joints and base of the fourth naked, the latter not much shorter 
than the third ; hd. ovate ; thx. broad, anteriorly narrowed, posteriorly as broad as 
the elytra, to which throughout its width it is closely applied ; body depressed ; 
elyt. slightly emarginate at the tip; second striae abbreviated, in some cases absent; 
wings ample ; anterior tar. of the males with three dilated joints. 

The species hybernate beneath stones, grass, mosses, &c, and on hot days in 
spring and summer may frequently be seen basking in the sun. 
Species 1. Amara acuminata, Sturm. 
Syn. — Amara serata, Kirby, MSS. — Steph. Mandibulata, pi. vii., fig. 6. — 

Carabus acuminatus, Paykue. 
Sp. Char. — Hd. smooth, impunctate ; thx. short, with an abbreviated dorsal 
channel, and on each side at the base, with two fovese ; the inner deep, 
impunctate, the outer minute and near the angles ; elyt. striated, the striae 
impunctate, with a continuous series of impressions on the margin ; pal. 
and legs black ; tar. reddish ; ant. dusky, the three basal joints rufescent, 
slightly tinged with dusky at the tips. Colour above, variable ; generally 
coppery. Length 5 — 6 lines. 
This species is far from uncommon on Woolston Moss, near Warrington. Also 
taken, according to Mr. Stephens, at Hertford ; near London ; Reche chalk pits, 
Cambridgeshire; Barham, Suffolk; Arbrook, Scotland; and Ashdown Copse, 
Wilts. 

* I have used the folio -ing abbreviations : — Pal. for palpi ; labr. labrum ; mand. mandibles ; 
ment. mentum ; hd. head; thx. thorax; elyt. elytra; fern, femora; tib. tibias ; tar. tarsi ; ant. 
antenna? ; and cil. for cilia?. 



22 NOTES ON THE AMAILEV 



Sp. 2. Amara lata, Sturm. 

Syn. — A: ingenua, Duftschmid. — A: lata, Steph. Mand. l.p. 128, 
Sp. Char. — Deep brassy black ; hcL impunctate, with a very obsolete impres- 
sion on each side between the eyes ; thx. smooth, with a slight dorsal 
channel, and on each side at the base with two sub-punctate impressions, 
of which the inner one is the largest, and somewhat remote from the base ; 
elyt. delicately striated, the striae impunctate, with a continuous series 
of impressions on the margin ; legs black, with rufous cil. and tarsi ; ant. 
with the basal joints, and base of the fourth rufescent, the rest black ; pal. 
pitchy ; length 4 — 5 lines. 
Var. a. — A. eurynota, Illigek. — Destitute of the impressions before the eyes. 
Common in the vicinity of Warrington, also taken near London, Bottisham, 
Southend, and at Kimpton, near Andover. I have examined a number of speci- 
mens of lata and eurynota, and feel confident, from reasons similar to those given 
at the commencement, that the latter is merely a variety of A. lata. 
Sp. 3. Amara similata, Stephens. 
Syn. — Harpalus similatus, Gyllenhal; A similata, Steph. Mand, 1. p. 128. 
Sp. Char. — Smaller and more oblong than the preceding; head impunctate; 
thx. with two small scarcely punctate foveas on each side at the base, the 
inner deepest ; elyt. striated, the three basal joints rufous. Length 4 — 
4 j lines. 
Rare about Warrington, but, according to Stephens, more frequent near London, 
Bottisham, Kimpton, &c- 

Sp. 4. Amara Linnoei, Rylands. 
Syn: — Carabus vulgaris, Linn. Syst. Nat.; — Berkenhout Syn.; Mart; 
Col. pi. 37 ; A. obsoleta, Sturm ; A. vulgaris, Steph. Mand. l.p. 128 ; A. 
Linncei, Ryl. MSS. 
Sp. Char: — Bright coppery; head with an obsolete foveola on each side 
between the eyes ; thx. rather convex, with two deep scarcely punctate 
foveae on each side at the base, the inner one oblong, and deepest, the 
outer oblique : elyt. striated, the striae obsoletely punctulate ; legs black, 
with ferruginous cil. and claws ; ant. with the basal joint ferruginous, 
or pitchy. Length 3| lines. 
It is .a law of nomenclature, which is supported by most naturalists, * that 
no animal should derive its specific name from the rarity or commonness of the 
species ; the reason for this is obvious ; many animals which are frequent in one 
country or district, are rare in another, and vice versa. An example of this is 

* It is a rule, we fear, advocated rather in theory than in practice. — Ed. 



NOTES ON THE AMAR^. 23 

before us. Were we to denominate the commonest of the species of Amara, 
taken in this district, vulgaris, that appellation would fall upon A. trivialis ; the 
true vulgaris of authors being far from common here. This is a sufficient reason, 
I trust, for altering the specific name, and as this species may exclusively be 
termed the Amara of Linnteus, the one I have substituted will, I hope, meet the 
views of other naturalists. Mr. Stephens gives the measurement of this species 
4 — 4| lines. This, however, appears, from the specimens I have examined, much 
above the true size. It averages 3§ lin., and is seldom, if ever, found to exceed 
4 lin. 

Sp. 5. Amara puncticollis, Rylands. 
Sp. Char : — Above bright coppery, or greenish brass ; head with an impression 
on each side between the eyes ; thx. with two large and deeply punctated 
foveee on each side at the base, the intervening space also punctulate ; elyt. 
punctato-striated ; body beneath black ; legs dark ferruginous ; ant, dusky, 
with three basal joints, rufous. Length Z\ lin. 
Very evidently distinct from the other species of this genus. Rare near War- 
ington. 

Sp. 6. Amara trivialis, Sturm. 
Syn. — Carabus trivialis, Duftschmid; A. trivialis, Steph. Mand. 1. p. 129. 
Sp. Char. — More oblong than the preceding species ; above greenish brass ; head 
smooth ; thx. with a delicate dorsal channel, and an abbreviated transverse 
impression, terminating on each side in a deep impunctate fovea; elyt. 
striated, the striae obsoletely punctulate ; legs pitchy, with the rib testa- 
ceous at the base. Length 3| —4 lin. 
Far. A. — With the tib. pitchy. 
Far. B. — The upper surface deep blue, with the margins of the elyt. of a rich 

metallic blue. 
Very abundant near Warrington. — Var. B. is rare. 

Sp. 7. Amara nitida, Sturm. 
Syn. — A. nitida, Steph. Mand. 1. p. 129. 

Sp. Char. — Allied to A. trivialis, but evidently distinct. Oblong ; bright 
greenish brass, or glossy green ; head impunctate ; thx. with a delicate line 
down the centre, and a deep linear impression on each side at the base ; 
elyt. rather depressed, with punctulate striae ; body beneath, and fern, 
deep black ; tib. and tar. ferruginous ; pal. and three basal* joints of the 
ant. rufous. Length 3% lin. 
Rare near Warrington ; also taken near London, and in Norfolk. 

Sp. 8. Amara Icevis, Sturm. 
Syn. — A. Icevis, Steph. Mand. 1. p. 130. 
Sp. Char.— Broad, depressed; bright brassy green; thx. with a slight dorsal 



24 NAMES OF BRITISH BIRDS. 

channel, an obsolete transverse impression, and true punctulate fovea? ori 
each side at the base, the outer one very obsolete ; elyt. with punctu- 
late striae ; legs entirely ferruginous ; ant. and palp, with the basal joints 
testaceous. Length 3— 3§ lin. 
Rare near Warrington ; " near London, and in Dorsetshire." — Stephens. 

Sp. 9. Amara elegans, Rylands. 
Sp. Char. — Slightly convex; shining brassy green; thx. with two punctuate 

striae on each side at the base of the dorsal channel, the outer one rarely 

obsolete ; elyt. striated, the striae punctulate ; fern, and tib. rufous ; ant. 

with the three basal joints and base of the fourth rufescent, the rest 

fuscous ; basal joint of the pal. ferruginous. Length 3 — 3§ lin. 

Closely allied to A. l&vis, but is distinguished by the absence of the transverse 

impression on the thorax; the colour of the tarsi, &c. Not uncommon near 

Warrington. 

Sp. 10. Amara cursor, Sturm. 

Syn. — A. cursor, Steph., Mand. 1. p. 130. 

Sp. Char. — Shining bronzed green ; thx. with a slight dorsal line, the base with 

an abbreviated obsolete linear impression on each side near the margin ; 

the rest of the surface impunctate ; elyt. rather strongly punctate, striated, 

ferruginous. Length 3 — 3| lin. 

Rare, near Warrington. " Common in the Metropolitan district." — J. F. 

Stephens, Esq. " Rare, near Bottisham." — Rev. L. Jenyns. 

Bewsey House, Warrington. 

(To be continued.) 



AN EXPLANATION OP THE LATIN NAMES OF BRITISH BIRDS. 

To the Editor of the Naturalist. 
Sib, 

I have often heard regretted the want of some explanation of the 
Latinized names of the British birds, which are of course unintelligible to persons 
who have not had a classical education ; the derivations of many of the names 
being, moreover, so arbitrary as to be doubtful, obscure, or even wholly unknown 
to the initiated. 

The above will, I hope, appear a sufficient reason for the following attempt at a 
translation into English of such of the names of the British birds as are of Latin 
or Greek derivation ; and with the wish that this may be of service and interest 
to some of your readers, I forward it for insertion in your pages, in case it should 
*eem to you likely to be of use, and to meet with the approbation of your sub- 



NAMES OF BRITISH BIRDS. 25 

scribers. Those of the names of which I have not been able to discover the 

meaning — if indeed there be any meaning in them — I have left in statu quo, and 

shall be glad if any of your correspondents can supply my lack of knowledge. — 

The Latin names are mostly from my Guide to an Arrangement of British Birds.* 

I am, Sir, &c. 

Francis Orpen Morris. 

Accipiter. [[From accipio, to take or receive. — Ed. 3 Hawk. 

————— Fringillarius. — Fringilla, a Finch. Finches and other small birds 

being generally the prey of this species of Hawk. Sparrow Hawk. 

Astur. — Qui est ex Asturia. One from Asturia, Castile, in Spain, the supposed 

original habitat of this bird. Gossak. 

■ palumbarius. — Palumba, a Dove, often preyed on by this species. 

Rock Gossak. 
Pernis. Yltgvns (incorrectly written for nrsgvis) a rapacious bird, supposed to 

be the Honey buzzard. Pern. 

apivorus. — Apis, a Bee, and voro, to devour. Honey Pern. 

Buteo. Buzzard. 

lagopus. Aayus, a Hare, and Tlovs, a foot. Rough-legged Buzzard. 

vulgaris. Common. Common Buzzard. 

Pandion. 

haliaetus. aX*,the sea and xiirov, an Eagle. White-headed Osprey- 

Aquila. [Supposed to be from aquilus, dark, sunburnt. — Ed.]] Eagle. 

albicilla. — Alba, white, and cilia, a tail. White-tailed Eagle. 

chrysa'etus. Xgveos gold, and atsro*, an Eagle. Golden Eagle. 

Falco. [From falco, to cut, or prune, with a hook. — Ed.[] Falcon. 

Islandicus. Of or belonging to Iceland; 

peregrinus. A foreigner, stranger, or alien. Peregrine Falcon. 

subbuteo. A diminutive of Buteo, the Buzzard. Hobby Falcon. 

rufipes. Red-footed , rufus, red, and pes, a foot. Orange-legged Falcon. 

cesalon. A bird supposed to be the Merlin of the ancients. Merlin 

Falcon. 

tinnunculut. Supposed to be the Kestril of old authors. Kestril 



Falcon. 
Milvus. Kite. 

regalia. Royal. Cinereous Kite. 

Circus. — Kipxos, a species of Hawk, supposed to be of this kind ; perhaps from 

its beating the ground in circles ; another meaning of the word Kipxor. 

Harrier. 

* We have added the English names, in order that the species may be recognised by all.— En. 

No. 7, Vol. II. e 



26 NAMES OF BRITISH BIRDS. 

Circus, cineraceus. Grey, cinereous. Ash-coloured Harrier. 

ceruginosus. Rusty, rust-coloured. Marsh Harrier. 

cyaneus. Azure, or ash-coloured. Hen Harrier. 

Otus. Ovs, wros, an ear. Madge. 

brachyotus. Bpxyys short, and ovs, uros, an ear. Short-eared Madge. 

auritus. Eared, from auris, an ear. Long-eared Madge. 

Scops. 2xs\J/, a kind of Owl, supposed to be the present species. Scops. 
Aldrovandi. So called after Aldrovandus, the celebrated naturalist. 

Common Scops. 
Bubo. QFrom Bufo, a Toad, on which the bird feeds. — Ed.] Toadeater. 

maximus. Largest or greatest. Great Toadeater. 

Strix. A kind of Owl supposed to be the S.Jlammea. Owl. 

nyctea. — Nix, snow ; from the colour of the bird. Snowy Owl. 

Alucus. ? 

jiammeus. Fiery, flame-like, yellow. Barn Owl. 

stridulus. Noisy, harsh, dissonant, clamourous. Tawny Owl. 

Noctua. A night Bird. Nightling. 

— passerina. Derived from Passer, a Sparrow. Spotted Nightling. 

Corvus. A bird of the Crow kind. Crow. From the size of the bird. 

corax. Kof>«|, a Raven. Raven Crow. 

— corone. Kopom, a Carrion Crow. Carrion Crow. 

frugilegus. Fruges, fruit, i*. e. grain ; and lego, to gather. Rook 

Crow. 
comix. A bird supposed to be the Hooded Crow of the olden times. 



Hooded Crow. 
— monedula. From moneo, to warn, as in augury. Jack-daw Crow. 



Pica. Magpie. 

caudata. Tailed, having a long tail ; cauda, a tail. Common Magpie. 

Glandarius. Glans, glandis, an acorn, the food of the Jay. Jay. 

vulgaris. Common. Common Jay. 

Nucifraga. Nux, nucis, a nut, and frango, to break. Nutcracker. 

caryocatactes. Kxpix nuts, and K«t«xt»)/x< to destroy. Spotted 

Nutcracker. 

Pyrrhocorax. Tlvppos red, and Kop«| a Crow. Chough. 

riifipes. Red-footed. Red-legged Chough. 

Oriolus. QFrom the French or, gold, in allusion to the yellow colour of the 
bird.— Ed.] Oriole. 

galbula. The Latin name of a bird, supposed to be the Oriole. Gol- 
den Oriole. 

Sturnus. [Terhaps from Astrum a star ; our Starling is certainly derived 
from star. — Ed.] A Starling or Stare. Starling. 



NAMES OF BRITISH BIRDS* 27 

Sturnus vulgaris. Common Spotted Starling. 

Pastor. Literally a shepherd ; but how this can apply to a bird, I at present 
know not. Amzel. 

roseus. Roseate or rose-coloured. Rose-coloured Amzel. 

Bombycilla. Bombyx, silk, and cilia, a tail. Waxwing. Silktail. 

— garrula. Noisy, chattering. Bohemian Waxwing. 

Lanius. A Butcher. Shrike. 

excubitor. A Sentinel. Grey Shrike. 

■ collurio. Redbacked Shrike, 

rufus. Red. Wood Shrike. 

Parus. [[From parvus, little. — Ed.]] Tit. 

biarmicus. [[Two-barbed ; from the whiskers on each side of the bill. 

—En.] Bearded Tit. 

caudatus. Cauda, a tail. Longtailed Tit. 

palustris. Of or belonging to marshes. Marsh-Tit. 

ater. Black. Coal Tit. 

cristatus. Crested. Cre3ted Tit. 

cseruleus. Blue or azure-coloured. Blue Tit. 

— — major. Greater or larger. Garden Tit» 

Regulus. A diminutive of Rex, a king, from this bird having a crest or crown 
of gold colour. Kinglet. 

cristatus. Crested. Golden-crowned Kinglet. 

Picus. j^From Usiku to peck. — Ed.] Woodpecker. 

martius. " Martia Picus avis" (supposed to be this bird) is spoken 

of in Ovid ; derived from Mars, the heathen god of war. Perhaps from 
the upright attitude of the bird, and the blows it gives the trees. Black 
Woodpecker. 

viridis. Green. Green Woodpecker. 

major. Greater or larger. Barred Woodpecker*. 

medius. Middle (in point of size). 

minor. Lesser. Pied Woodpecker. 

villosus. Hairy. Hairy Woodpecker. 

Sitta. Sittw supposed to have been the Nuthatch. Nuthatch. 

Europsea. European. European Nuthatch. 

Yunx. Wryneck. 

torquilla. From torqueo, to turn or twist, as the Wryneck does its 

neck. Zigzag Wryneck. 
Certhia. Creper. 

familiaris. Common or familiar. Hazel Creeper- 

Upupa. Hoopoe. 



"2ft NAMES OF BRITISH BIRDS. 

Upupa, epops. EwonJ/, a Hoopoe. Marsh Hoopoe . 

Merops. The Latin name of a bird that eats Bees. Bee-eater. 

apiaster. Apiastrum, an herb that Bees delight in; the name should 

perhaps be apiastri. Yellow-throated Bee-eater. 
Alcedo. The Halcyon or Kingfisher. Kingfisher. 
ispida- Hispidus, rough, as with wet. fJOr perhaps from piscis, a 

fish. — Ed.] Common Kingfisher. 
Cinclus. KiyK^os, a bird which has the habit of moving its tail, supposed to 

be the Dipper. Dipper. 

aquatieus. That haunts or delights in water. Bank Dipper. 

Loxia. Ao£os, oblique, crooked (as to its bill). Crossbill. 

curvirostra. Having a curved bill. Common Crossbill. 

pityopsittacus. Ilirvs-vos, a Pine tree, and •narrq.wx, a Parrot. 

Pyrrhula. Uvq, fire, from the colour of the bird. Alp. 

vulgaris. Common. Hedge Alp. 

enucleator. Enucleo, to take out a kernel. Pine Alp. 

Fringilla. fJFrom frango, to break or crush (seeds). — Ed.] Finch. 

coccothraustes. Koxxos, a berry, and Qpxvu to break. Haw Finch. 

chloris. Chloris, a green bird, such as the present Green F inch. 

Passer. Sparrow. 

domesticus- Domestic. House Sparrow- 

montanus. Of or belonging to mountains. Tree Sparrow. 

montifringilla?* Mons montis, a mountain, and Fringilla, a Finch- 

Mountain Sparrow. 
? calebs. A Bachelor. 



Carduelis. |[From Carduus, a Thistle. — Ed.] 

spinus. [Spinus, a Sloe, or Blackthorn. — Ed.] Green Siskin. 

communis. Common. Common Siskin. 

Linaria. Linarium, a Flax field, which the Linnets prey upon. Linnet. 
Linota. A<»o», Flax or Hemp-seed ; of which these birds are fond. Br»wn 
Linnet. 

rubra. Ruddy, red. Redpoll Linnet. 

montana. Of or belonging to mountains. Mountain Linnet. 

Emberiza. Bunting. 

nivalis. Snowy. Snow Bunting. 

■ hortulana. Of or belonging to Gardens. Ortolan Bunting. 

schamiclus. a-xoms, a Rush. Reed Bunting. 

cirlus. Cirl Bunting. 

* Vide the Preface to the Guide to an Arrangement of British Birds, by the Rev. F. 0. MonRis. 



NAMES OF BRITISH BIRDS. 29 

Emberiza. chloroccphala. XXupos, green, and *.i<paX-o a head. Greenheaded 
Bunting. 

citrinetta. Citrinus, of a citron colour. Yellow Bunting. 

miliaria. Milium, Millet, on which this bird feeds. Corn Bunting. 

Alauda. [^Perhaps from a or ab from, and laudo, to praise. — Ed.] Lark. 

arvensis. Of or belonging to fields. Sky Lark. 

arborea. Of or belonging to woods or trees. Wood Lark. 

Anthus. Latin name of a bird supposed to be of this genus. Pipit. 

rupestris. Of or belonging to rocks. Rock Pipit. 

— » — ■ — pratensis. Of or belonging to meadows. Meadow Pipit. 
— — — arbor em. Of or belonging to trees. Tree Pipit. 

Rickardi. So named after Mr. Richards. Richard's Pipit. 

Tardus. Thrush. 

— — — musicus. Musical. Garden Thrush. 

- viscivorus. That feeds on Misseltoe. Viscus the Misseltoe, and voro 
to devour. Missel Thrush. 

Iliacus. Trojan ; coming perhaps from Asia-Minor, or it may be 

derived some way from Ilex, the Holm Oak. Redwing Thrush. 

pilaris. Fieldfare Thrush. 

Merula. \Mera, alone, solitary. — Ed.] Ouzel. 

vulgaris. Common. Garden Ouzel. 

■ torquata. Having a ring, ringed. Ring Ouzel. 

Muscicapa. Musca, a Fly, and capio to catch. Flycatcher. 

luctuosa. Mourning, from its being all in black and white. Pied 

Flycatcher. 

grisola. Of a sober grey colour. Grey Flycatcher. 

Motacilla. Moveo to move, and cilia a tail. Wagtail. 

flam. Yellow. Yellow Wagtail. 

boarula. [Boarius, appertaining to Oxen. — Ed]. Grey Wagtail. 

alba. White. Pied Wagtail. 

Anorthura. wu upwards, opu to raise, and ow* the tail. Wren. 
troglodytes. The name of a people said to live in caves of the earth. 

Ivy Wren. 
Saxicola. Sam, rocks, and colo to inhabit. Chat. 
senanthe. otwQx, the name of a bird supposed to be the Wheatear. 

Fallow Chat. 
rubetra. [From Rubeta a Toad, on account of the white streak over 

the eye — Ed.] 

Rubus a Bramble, and colo to inhabit. Stone Chat. 

(To be continued in our next.) 



30 

A CATALOGUE, AND REMARKS ON THE MEDICINAL AND 
POISONOUS PLANTS, FOUND PRINCIPALLY IN THE NEIGH- 
BOURHOOD OP YORK. 

Of the general divisions of the science of Botany, few are more interesting, 
none certainly more useful, than that which treats of the properties, medical and 
culinary, of the varied and enchanting products of Flora ; affording, as they do, 
some of the most common necessaries of life, as well as those agents which, under 
the hand of the chemist and pharmacopolist, form an important feature in the 
present Materia Medica. • 

In speaking, then, of the advantages attending the study of Medical Botany, it 
will scarcely be necessary to remind the readers of the Naturalist, that, to use the 
language of Professor Henslow, " the old and by-gone sneer of cui bono, by 
which the naturalist was formerly taunted, now offers no serious impediment in 
the way of those who are willing to inquire for themselves ;" and now that so 
many opportunities are afforded by the publication of such works as those of 
Woodville, and the more modern ones of Stephenson and Churchill, there 
can only be wanting an interest in it, to render this subject, to a certain degree 
at least, universally regarded by the lovers of Botany. 

With respect to the locality which is the subject of this communication, it may 
be remarked, that few counties possess more charms for the admirers of Nature, 
than Yorkshire ; and this pre-eminence may perhaps be attributed, not so much 
to its situation and extent, as to the diversified nature of its surface and soil ; em- 
bracing, as it does, such wild and romantic scenery, surpassed perhaps only by 
the Highlands of Scotland, together with extensive plains of rich pasture-land 
and limestone tracts, and the varied appearances presented by the coal and other 
formations, together with sand and marsh districts ; the whole bounded on one 
side by the sea — the German Ocean. With such advantages, it may seem remark- 
able, that no complete and exclusively Local Catalogue has yet appeared of 
its botanical treasures ; this deficiency will, however, soon be supplied, a work 
being in prospectu by an able and distinguished practical botanist,* who is in 
every respect calculated to fulfil satisfactorily his important task. But until 
this is accomplished, it is thought that a catalogue, with a few remarks on the 
medical and poisonous plants found principally in the neighbourhood of York, may 
not be altogether devoid of interest even to the general reader. 

The Plants are arranged according to the Linnaean system, as at once the 
plainest and most generally understood ; and their number is regulated with 
regard to the commoner herbs by Stephenson and Churchill's work ; many 
formerly employed and recorded in the days of Gerarde, and even Woodville, 

• Mr. Batnes, sub-curator of the Museum of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society. 



MEDICINAL PLANTS OF YORKSHIRE. 31 

having now fallen into disuse . The Poisonous plants not used medicinally, are 
marked thus*. 

Valeriana officinalis ; root. Ditches and banks of rivers, &c. York. Anti- 
spasmodic tonic. 
*Anagallis arvensis. Fields at Langwith and Overton, near York. 
Menyanthes trifoliata ; herb. Meadow between Clifton and the Ouse ; Askham 
Bogs, near York. The difficulty of its cultivation generally, can be the only 
reason for this beautiful plant not having a place in every garden ; and few peo- 
ple there are, who have not at some time seen and admired its elegant thyrsus of 
white flowers, tinged externally with pink, and fringed with white filaments 
within. In the North East of Yorkshire it has long been a favorite remedy with 
the poor, as a tonic. 

Erythroea centaurium ; herb. At Langwith, and other dry pastures about 
York. It is allied to the Gentians, and possesses properties similar to the 
last. 
Hyoscyamus niger ; leaves. Near Clifton, and at Overton, near York. Narcotic. 
Solanum dulcamara ; twigs. Hedges, &c. York. Diuretic sudorific. 
Convolvulus sepium ; roots, cathartic. Hedges, &c. 

York has been generally given as a locality for the Sphinx convolvuli, and its 
appearance may be attributed, perhaps, to the prevalence of this species of Con- 
volvulus in the neighbourhood. 

Rhamnus catharticus ; berries, cathartic. Askham Bogs, near York. This 
shrub occurs but sparingly at this locality, although the other British 
species of Rhamnus ( R. Frangula) is here, as in the other places about 
York, very abundant. 
Viola odorata ; flowers, laxative. Hedge banks and pastures. 
*(Enanthe phellandrium. Langwith ; Overton ; Askham Bogs. The Fine- 
leaved Water Hemlock is particularly abundant at the above localities, 
and at Askham Bogs forms a green net-work over the ditches, where it 
grows along with Ranunculus lingua^ in July. 
*Mthusa cynapium. Gardens and cornfields, York. 
F&niculum vulgare ; root diuretic, seed carminative. Under York Bar walls , 

naturalized. 
Daucus carota ; seed, carminative. Heslington Fields, near York. 
Conium maculatum ; leaves. Hedge banks, &c. Narcotic. 
Ulmus campestris ? inner bark. Hedges. Tonic, alterative, diuretic. 
Sambucus nigra ; flowers, diaphoretic ; berries aperient ; bark purgative. 
Hedges, &c, York. This tree is common here, as in most localities; 
the Sambucus ebulus, or Danewort, is not found in the immediate 
vicinity ; I have gathered it at Thorp Arch. 



32 MEDICINAL PLANTS OF YORKSHIRE. 

Linum usitatissimum ; seeds, oil of, emollient. Langwith, naturalized ; 
where it has probably been cultivated, as in other places about York. 

Linum cartkarticum ; herb. Dry pastures, &c. Purgative. 

Acorus calamus; root. Fish-ponds at Heslington; probably, however, 
planted there. Aromatic. 

Rumex hydrolapathum. Askham Bogs. Here this noble Dock attains se- 
veral feet in height, and its leaves are sometimes two feet or more in 
length. The root is employed medicinally, as an astringent, prepar- 
ations of iron showing it to contain a certain quantity of tannin. 

Rumex acetosa ; leaves, Pastures, &c. In the meadows near the Mount, 
York, there are, in Summer, great quantities of the Green Forester 
(Ino statices) sporting about, and settling on the tops of the long 
grass, the larvae of which feed upon the Sorrel growing there. This 
insect is found, too, at Overton Wood. Refrigerant. 

Colckicum autumnale ; bulb and seeds. Clifton, Middlethorpe, and Fulford 
Ings, abundant. This beautiful, and in Yorkshire by no means very 
uncommon plant, has of late years obtained great celebrity as a re- 
medy for rheumatism, and is believed to have been a principal ingre- 
dient in the famous Eau Medicinale. Narcotic, diuretic, cathartic. 

Polygonum bistorta ; root: Clifton and Fulford Ings. In Clifton Ings 
this plant often attains the height of between two and three feet, al- 
though it is much smaller in the last mentioned locality. Powerfully 
astringent ; tonic. 

* Paris quadrifolia. Langwith. I have gathered this plant at Thorp- Arch 

Woods, and in two woods near Doncaster. It is not uncommon in York- 
shire, and its numerous varieties do not seem to have been much noticed 
by authors. In my Herbarium are specimens with five and six leaves 
in the whorl ; one with only three petals and calyx leaves, and five 
stamina. The variety with five leaves is far from being rare at the 
Doncaster localities. 

Oxalis acetosella ; leaves, refrigerant. Overton Wood, Langwith, &c. 

Lythrum salicaria ; root, astringent, tonic. Knavesmire Wood, Heslington. 

Rosa canina. Hedges, &c. Pulp, cooling. 

Tormentilla officinalis; root. Dry pastures and heathy places, frequent. 
Astringent. 

Geumurbanum; root, febrifuge, tonic Hedge-banks, Clifton, &c> near York. 

Papaver rhceas ; petals. Com fields. Slightly anodyne. 

* Ckelidonium majus. Near the Bar walls, Clifton, &c. 

Ranunculus acris ; root, rubefacient, epispatic This and the other poi- 
sonous species of the genus, viz. R. flammula, *R- bulbosus, *R. arvensis, 
and * R. sceleratus, are all found, in their usual habitats, near York. 



MEDICINAL PLANTS OF YORKSHIRE. 33 

Mentha piperita ; herb. Brick-Kilns at Dring-houses, near York (naturalized). 
Peppermint is extensively cultivated here for medicinal purposes. Sto- 
machic, carminitive. 

Origanum vulgare ; herb. Thorp-Arch Woods. Stomachic errhine. 

Digitalis purpurea ; leaves. Langwith. This stately and elegant plant is 
very common in some parts of Yorkshire, as at Doncaster, and may be 
considered as the most important British contribution to the Materia 
Medica. It is a very powerful medicine, and was first brought into gene- 
ral notice by Withering, who wrote a small 8vo. work upon it. Sedative, 
diuretic. 

Cochlearia officinalis ; herb. Hob Moor, near York. Antiscorbutic. 

Cgtisus scoparius ; tops. Middlethorpe, Langwith, &c. Diuretic. 

Lactuca virosa ; leaves. Thorp- Arch. Narcotic. 

Leontodon taraxacum. Meadows and pastures. Root. Diuretic, resolvent, 
aperient. 

Artemisia absinthium. Near villages, &c. ; not in the immediate neighbour- 
hood of York. It is a fact worthy of notice, that notwithstanding the 
severity of the weather during the autumn of 1836, the Common Southern- 
wood ( Artemisia abrotanum) was in full bloom at the end of September 
and beginning of October, in a small cottage garden at Clifton, near York. 

Tussilago farfara ; leaves. Brick-kilns, Heworth, Hobmoor, &c. This pest 
to the farmers is not so common in the neighbourhood of York as it is in 
many places. As yet no means seem to have been adopted or discovered 
for effectually eradicating it. Demulcent, expectorant. 

Solidago virgaurea ; herb. Thorp- Arch Woods. Vulnerary. 

Inula helenium ; root. Field near Overton Wood. I was so fortunate as to 
discover this locality in a botanizing excursion, about a year and a half 
ago ; the habitat is in a place far removed from any dwelling, and appears 
to be a truly wild one for the plant. Stimulant, diuretic, expectorant. 
, * Bryonia dioica. Hedges, &c. 

Quercus robur ; bark, astringent and tonic. Hedges. At Overton Wood, 
Thecla quercus, the Purple Hairstreak, the caterpillar of which feeds 
upon the Oak, is abundant. 

Humulus lupulus ; narcotic and diuretic. Fulford, &c. The female catkins. 

*Mercurialis perennis. Side of the road beyond Acomb. This plant has 
occasioned accidents, from its being gathered for Chenopodium Bonus- 
Henricus, Mercury Goosefoot ; it flowers, however, early in the year 
while the latter does not till the end of summer; 

Doncaster, March 10, 1837- 

No. 7, Vol. II. f • 



34 



SENSE OF SMELL IN CARRION BIRDS. 
By the Rev. F. Orpen Morris, B. A. 

A circumstance which lately came under my observation, will, I think, set at 
rest the long-agitated question, whether carrion birds are directed to their food by 
the sense of sight or the sense of smell. The day on which the recent heavy fall of 
snow commenced, which has lain on the ground so long, a mare, in a field of 
mine, slipped a foal. The snow storm coming on, it was entirely forgotten, and 
remained in the same place where it lay, without being removed, so that it was 
soon completely covered, and hidden by the fleecy fall, which clothed the earth as 
it were with a mantle ; and the old proverb, " out of sight, out of mind," was 
verified ; for the circumstance above alluded to was soon dismissed from re- 
collection. It was recalled, however, by my seeing, one afternoon, two or 
three hungry Crows, their appetites sharpened by the long frost, perambulating 
the spot, and appearing to have found a meal. They were most polite to one 
another this first day that I saw them ; for only one at a time presumed to 
approach the banquet ; the others standing a few yards off, quietly and patiently 
awaited their turn, and as soon as each had helped himself to his first course, his 
companions one by one advanced, and having each seen his predecessor carve for 
himself, came in for his own share. The next day this punctilious etiquette was not 
observed, for all the comers, in number four or five, partook of the feast together, 
and having simultaneously taken dinner, flew away in company, satisfied with 
their good luck. At least they ought to have been ; for I heard of many other 
birds, who either sunk under the " pelting of the pitiless storm," or fell victims 
to the starvation to which the stopping of their usual supplies of food subjected 
them. 

With regard to the incident mentioned above, there are, I well know, two 
semi-extenuating circumstances which may be alleged. The one, that in frosty 
weather the olfactory and other organs of men and animals are rendered more 
acute and discriminating than is the case in dull and heavy weather, when all 
the senses and faculties are deadened, and oftentimes even fail of being able 
adequately to perform their accustomed functions. The other, that the air is 
also at the same time thinner ; therefore more conductive of both smells and 
sounds, than at other times ; putrefaction is indeed checked or retarded by frost, 
but where it has already taken place, the decomposed particles find their way 
more easily through the rarified medium, than when it contains heavier atoms, 
which, by their bulk, more retard the transmission of the former. Still, the 
object of attraction being, as I have mentioned, hid from the sight altogether, it 
matters little to the actual fact, of the birds being directed to their food by the 
sense of smell alone, whether that took place under circumstances more favourable 
than ordinary or not. 



HABITS OF THE FITCHET WEASEL. 35 

I have read the discussion carried on on this subject by Mr. Waterton, in 
Loudon's Magazine of Natural History; I was always of opinion that Mr. 
Waterton was right, and I am now confirmed in that opinion. Certainly, in 
the case in question, the Crows must have been directed to their food by the sense 
of smell alone, no part of the carcass being visible to the sight. The conclusion 
is obvious. — Q. E. D. 
Jan. 1, 1837. 



HABITS OF THE FITCHET WEASEL (Mustela putorius, Linn.) 

The habits of few of our native animals are less known than those of the 
Fitchet Weasel. The shy dispositions and secluded residences of the Weasel 
family generally render it difficult to observe minutely on their manners and 
characters ; whilst, also, by many of those persons whose situations give them 
opportunities of making observations upon them, they are looked upon as 
enemies, and persecuted " to the death." The farmer may sometimes permit 
the little red Weasel to find a home in the stack-yard or barn, from the 
enmity it bears to the Rat; yet, should his dame have a poultry-yard, the 
tenure of the Weasel will be, at best, but insecure. That foe to all vermin, the 
gamekeeper, pursues the race with unmitigating vengeance, and mankind 
generally look upon them as ugly and loathsome. 

With the naturalist, however, they are a more favoured race ; and to him 
the Weasel, as it gambols and skips before him, bending its limber body into 
many a graceful curve, cannot but be a pleasing and interesting object. 

The Fitchet is the largest and most ferocious of this family. It is very 
seldom seen during the day, keeping then closely to its den. Sometimes, 
however, it may be found in a shallow hole basking in the sun, and I remember 
once disturbing one that had taken up its abode amongst some newly-cut 
grass ; but yet they are rarely found to expose themselves so much during 
daylight. 

The time when this animal pursues its labours and its recreations is in 
the silent hour of night ; then it is abroad, and the ground over which it will 
travel in the course often or twelve hours, shows that it is not a loiterer. Six r 
seven, or eight miles are not uncommon distances for it to traverse in its 
nightly perambulations ; and I have sometimes known them go still more. 
When it is the resident of a Rabbit-warren, it may, perhaps, not wander so far 
from home. 

In the spring of the year I have found that they stray to the greatest dis- 
tances, probably on account of the sexual propensity being then most active. 
A person informs me he once followed one-for upwards of ten miles, not in- 



36 HABITS OF THE FITCHET WEASEL. 

eluding many digressions it had made from its more direct path. This was 
about the end of March. In some of the northern counties of England, 
the Fitchet is a grand object of chace amongst those who may not " try at 
higher game," and indeed by many who are above this order of sportsmen, 
Fitchet-h